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What to Wear Under Your Cap & Gown

When Meryl Streep told the 2010 graduating class at Barnard University, “This is your time, and it feels normal to you. But, really, there is no ‘normal.,’” the actress was right in more ways than one. There is no absolute right way to do anything— no one career path, no one personal trajectory, and certainly no one-size-fits-all dress to wear under your cap and gown. Because though you might have to wear the same smock as your fellows, it’s what’s underneath that counts (life lesson number two).

So as you file down the aisle to that age-old graduation march, bidding adieu to school, papers, finals, when you finally unzip that gown, why not reveal a dress that unveils your true self? And take a first brave step into the world in an outfit that shows off what the new normal—and the newly commenced you—looks like.


1. Two Pieces

You’ve always been the kind of girl to think ahead. And with a two-piece “dress” you get four outfits in one. That’s what we like to call planning for your future.


2. Flowers Galore

You may have not enjoyed learning about the electromagnetic spectrum in Physics, but a dress on the floral spectrum is one you can get behind. Burst out of your grad gown with a floral dress that shows the world that you’re ready to bloom.

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3. Jumpsuit

Sure, they gave you an education, but you are about to school them in fashion. Get a jump-start on your future in a fashionable one-piece that makes it easy to kick off your heels and dance. There’s no stopping you now.


4. Power Suit

Skip the dress all together. There are many different paths that lead to greatness. Yours may not be in a dress at all, but in a feminine and beguiling power suit. If you have your sights set on Capitol Hill, show them what you’re made of now. And remember, the future belongs to the bold.


5. Retrofitted

Even if you’re not valedictorian, you can still leave them speechless. A classic A-line silhouette in pastel hues and cinched at the waist gives you all the A’s you need on grad day. And will leave your family remarking at what a beautiful young woman you’ve become.


6. Boho Cut-Outs

Blending boho looks with the seasons must-have cut-out trend is right on the edge of where you like to live. You like unexpected twists and turns and you are ready for whatever this world is going to throw at you.


7. Just the Right Embellishment

We’re not talking about the story you told your math teacher that one time you missed an assignment. We mean ornate weaving and lace that’s in line with the ‘70s trends popping up on fashion runways.


8. Simple and Sweet

There’s no need to give grandma too much of a startle. She traveled across the country to see you accept that diploma. Keep it simple and ladylike in white.


9. Fly Away

If Kate Chopin’s famous novel “The Awakening” made you realize you were ready to spread your wings and fly, go ahead and wear the sentiment. Even if you read the CliffsNotes, it’s no matter. This will leave everyone chirping at how good you look.


10. And Remember

Graduation is not an end, but a beginning. So put your best foot forward in a pair of shoes that will carry you wherever it is your journey takes you. A nice pair of leather sandals though, will ensure you’ll still be walking come the evening.


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