13 Graduation Guest Outfits That Won’t Steal The Graduate’s Thunder

Look chic without stealing the spotlight.

Originally Published: 
Women wearing different graduation ceremony-appropriate outfits.
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Cue “Pomp and Circumstance.” It’s graduation season once again. If you’re part of the next batch of tassel-moving hat tossers, my biggest congratulations to you! If you’re not the graduate, but happened to snag an invite to the ceremony, you can still celebrate by dressing cute.

When picking an outfit, first consider the venue. These events are often held in schools or big convention centers, and the crowd will likely be a cocktail of family members, teachers, and school staff. So even if you’re the Emily Ratajkowski of your family (or friend group), best save those spicy see-through ’fits for the afterparty and lean formal for this one.

That doesn’t mean your look needs to be boring, proof of which you’ll find below. Read on for a hodgepodge of ideas for what to wear to someone else’s graduation — looks that will shine but not upstage.

1. A White Button-Down & A-Line Skirt

Riff off the classic white-button-down-and-trousers look by swapping in an A-line skirt. If you want to make it a touch more feminine, consider this pleated option in a fun floral print. Top it off with kitten heels.

2. A Textured Co-Ord

Throwing on some shimmer will instantly elevate an outfit — even the most basic silhouette. When a matching set comes into play, that rule carries twice as much weight. For extra decadence, consider these pleated pants and matching asymmetrical top.

3. A Vest & Skirt

Vests are back. Just ask supermodels Kendall Jenner and Bella Hadid. You, too, can rock the vest-as-shirt look at a graduation ceremony. Instead of pairing it with trousers, which is more common, consider a flowy skirt. For a whimsical take on the trend, a springy floral detail will go a long way.

4. A Slip Dress & Ballet Flats

If you’re looking to style your favorite slinky slip dress, consider pairing it with Mary Janes, a huge footwear trend this year.

5. A Little White Dress & Slingbacks

You can’t go wrong with an LWD (the LBD’s summery sister). It always looks elegant, even if the hemline veers short. Pair it with strappy sandals — also in white, a plus — for a sophisticated, monochromatic look.

6. A Playful Jumpsuit

A jumpsuit is trusted going-out attire, especially since it’s not too formal. Go for one with playful patterns, like this loose, striped number.

7. A Cropped Jacket & Skirt Set

For a tailored look that’s also comfortable in higher temps, a cropped jacket and mini skirt is a stylish option. (This pink tweed set is particularly elegant, right?) Emily Ratajkowski has been sporting the co-ord look, so you’ll be in good company.

8. A Midi Dress & Heels

A column dress is elegant, sure, but it could also skew simple. A midi like this — with its asymmetrical shoulder detail — definitely keeps things interesting. Pair it with strappy heels for a polished vibe to fit the occasion.

9. A Cardi & Slip Skirt

Channel the nostalgic romance of ’90s dressing with a slip skirt and cropped top. Trust me, the minimalist look won’t fail you.

10. A Wrap Dress & Heels

IMO, everyone needs a wrap dress in their closet. They’re easy to wear and effortlessly chic. Throw on your favorite style, paired with heels, for an instantly stylish, no-brainer ’fit. Consider one with an eye-catching print or abstract pattern for that extra oomph.

11. A Blazer & Jeans

Can you wear jeans to a graduation ceremony? If the dress code is smart casual, yes. Elevate the denim with a classic blazer and pointed pumps, or add on statement bling like a chunky chain necklace.

12. Print-On-Print

If you’d feel more powerful and authentically you in a fully-printed ensemble, go for it. You’ll look more polished in a matching set, but if you want to stand out, mismatched prints are the way to go.

13. A Bold Three-Piece Suit

For a playful take on three-piece suiting, go bold with a vibrant hue like lavender. Pro tip: A white pointed pump will make the outfit more formal; sneakers will make it more casual.

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