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Graduation is a significant milestone. It marks the end of your student life and the start of a new era. That’s why most graduates choose this occasion to dress to the nines and step into adulthood in style.
Since many graduations don’t have a specific dress code, you have lots of options when choosing your graduation dress. While you can certainly wear a dress you already own, many people use this momentous occasion as an opportunity to treat themselves to something new.
From cocktail dresses to maxi dresses, below you’ll find a list of the most Insta-worthy dresses 2022 has to offer.
Editor’s choice: Sarin Mathews Womens Off The Shoulder Dress
Sarin Mathews’ off-the-shoulder dress is as eye-catching as it is easy to move around in. It features a high-low hem with short sleeves for an elegant, stylish look.
This dress features a cotton blend material consisting of 60% cotton, 36% polyamide and 4% spandex. It is thick, yet soft, skin-friendly, and easy to care for. Although you can wash it in the machine, hand washing is highly recommended.
Another plus? The vast array of color options offer plenty of room for self expression.
Available in a variety of colors
High low hem stands out
Size chart is wrong
Zipper is flimsy
Budget friendly: ACEVOG Women's Summer Dress
If you’re shopping on a budget, this pick by ACEVOG is for you. Featuring adjustable spaghetti straps and a round neckline, it is comfortable to wear for longer time periods.
The dress is available in six sizes and a range of floral prints. But if that's not your thing, you can choose from the solid options and tie and dye variations as well. With its flowy fabric and simple neckline, you’ll be walking across the stage with confidence and style.
Airy, breathable fabric
Sizes run big
Clings to the tummy
Most comfortable: GRACE KARIN Women's Sleeveless Dress
This wrap dress from Grace Karin is a suitable choice for a graduation ceremony. Made from a blend of 95% polyester and 5% spandex, the fabric is light, breathable and not too stretchy.
You can wear it for a long duration without getting hot, uncomfortable or sweaty – so if you live in a hotter or humid climate, this GRACE KARIN is an ideal pick.
The dress features a plunging V-neckline and a concealed zipper. It has an A-line silhouette that's fitted at the waist, then flares out towards your knees. Available in more than 30 colors and 11 different sizes, one possible downside is that the top of the dress is lined but the skirt is not – so be prepared to wear a slip if you’re purchasing a lighter color.
Soft and comfortable fabric
Breathable material prevents excess sweating
Wrap design flatters every body type
Skirt is not lined
Not machine washable
Flattering form: Knitee Women's Formal Dress
If you are after a dress that will flatter your figure, this ruffled Knitee dress is a solid choice.
Featuring a deep V-neckline and a fitted pencil skirt, this beautiful dress will flatter your figure without revealing too much. The neckline highlights the chest and collarbone areas, while the skirt hugs your curves.
Designed with polyester blended fabric consisting of 95% polyester and 5% spandex, this dress is knee length. The fabric is soft yet stretchy, and you can adjust the neckline to your liking.
Elegant and stylish
Size chart is not accurate
Material is heavy
Variety of color: HOMEYEE Women's A-Line Embroidery Dress
If you are looking for an embellished dress to wear to your graduation, this Homeyee Embroidered A-line dress is a pretty option.
Designed with an embroidered waist and an A-line cut, this dress has a crew neckline with a concealed zipper and a flared hem. The material is a polyester blend that has nice movement to it.
Available in a range of printed and solid options, you can also choose between sleeveless options and styles with three-quarter sleeves. Falling to knee length, you can pair it with heels and accessories to make it the perfect graduation ‘fit.
Sleek and stylish cut
Fabric is soft and comfortable
Variety of colors and prints to choose from
No lace on the back
Light colors are a bit sheer
How to find a quality graduation dress: a buying guide
Your graduation is your day to shine, so you want a dress that makes you look and feel your best. For those who tend to dress down, this is definitely a time to step up your fashion game and showcase your personal style.
Choosing your graduation dress
Color is an essential element of your graduation dress. Many schools require white dresses for graduation ceremonies, but not all do. If your school doesn’t have a set color you need to wear, consider your personal style and current trends when deciding on the right color for your graduation dress. Think about the colors that best complement your skin tone and that you feel good in, and go from there.
Another factor to consider? If you’ll be wearing a graduation robe or gown, you may want to choose and dress that looks good underneath it.
The style of your graduation dress is important because you don’t want it to give you a weird shape if you’re wearing a graduation gown over it. For example, a dress that is very voluminous will make your graduation robe puff out in a way that might be unflattering.
It’s also important to think about length when shopping for a graduation dress. If you’ll be sitting on stage, a short dress may reveal too much. If you have to do a lot of walking, a longer dress may be harder to maneuver in. Think about your specific graduation ceremony so you can choose the length of your dress wisely.
When in doubt, choose a dress that fits perfectly, falls slightly below the knee and is light and breathable.
Dress to impress
Graduation is one of the most memorable days of your life, so you can expect your family and friends to want to take some pictures – and, of course, later post them on social media. While you don’t have to dress formally, it is important to appear well-dressed. Play around with colors and patterns to find the right option.
If you graduation is being held during the warmer spring and summer months, you’ll want to choose a dress that is light and breathable.
Fabrics like chiffon, polyester and cotton are some options to check out. You can also look into getting a lace dress if it suits your style.
Tips to rock your graduation dress
Feeling comfortable in something you wouldn’t typically wear, like a fancier dress, can undeniably feel awkward. Use these tips to shake off the graduations scaries:
Choose a dress that allows for bending, jumping and walking. Nothing is worse than a dress you can’t comfortably move around in, so check out customer reviews prior to making your purchase.
If possible, buy two dresses that you can wear in different weather conditions. If you have your heart set on a particular dress, carry a light cardigan with you just in case it’s chillier than you expected.
Don’t wear a dress that makes you feel completely unlike yourself. It’s normal to feel a little weird if you’re trying a new style, but you should never feel so awkward that you’re constantly thinking about how you look. If this is the case, know that everyone’s style is unique and that you can wear whatever makes you most comfortable.
Popular dress types
When it comes to finding a graduation dress, knowing about the various types of dresses will make it easier for you to find a flattering one for yourself. Below are some dress types to consider for your graduation ceremony.
A midi dress sits between maxi and mini dresses in length. Falling just below your knees, these dresses are a popular graduation attire because of they are semi-formal. They will also nicely complement the length of your graduation gown.
This style is available in a vast range of sleeve lengths and neckline styles. You can style these with dressy heels, boots, and even sandals. Add in some cute jewelry, and you’ve got an outfit all of your friends will be talking about.
Mini dresses are also a popular choice for graduation ceremonies. They end at mid-thigh and are the shortest dresses in length. Many graduates prefer wearing these because the short length works well with the longer gown.
These dresses are typically form-fitting, but you can also find a flirty fit-and-flare style that flatters your body. Plus, you can pair them with your favorite flats, heels and boots for a more stylish look.
Off-the-shoulder dresses are an excellent way to showcase your shoulders, without doing a completely strapless look.
A popular dress choice because of its versatility, A-line dresses hug the waist area and flare out towards the hem.
Graduation is a significant day in a person’s life. The memories you’ll make on that day will follow you for years to come, and the right outfit can leave you feeling good, too. From off-the-shoulder to midi, knowing the dress code for your special day can help your search for the perfect graduation dress. Stay true to your unique style, and no matter what you wear this will be a special day to remember.
People also asked
Q: What is the dress code for graduation?
A: While the dress code will vary from campus to campus, it is usually semi-formal. Most women opt to wear mini dresses or classic midi dresses. If you’re unsure if the dress you want is acceptable, consider consulting your office administrator or an educator for their opinion on what to wear.
Q: What color should my graduation dress be?
A: While white is the predominant graduation dress color, you can also look into getting another light color dress.
Q: Is it okay to wear a long dress to graduation?
A: While there is no strict dress code surrounding graduation ceremonies, most experts suggest against wearing long dresses. The reason for this is that the length of your graduation gowns tends to fall between the knee and ankle areas.
If you decide to wear a long dress, it will fall past the hemline of your gown and ruin the overall effect. Because of this, it’s better to stick with midi or mini dresses for graduation.
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