Graduation season is in full swing. I can't believe it's been three years since my own graduation.
There are a couple of things that I wish people told me. Like, do NOT drink too much the night before graduation. If you do, any time somebody sees a picture from your graduation, they will be told "she was VERY hungover that day" or "that's when she still had her wine weight" (true story: one of these is about my mom's college graduation and one is about my graduation day).
Tip number two: be prepared to be warm. I went to College in Memphis, TN, and it was so hot outside the days leading up to graduation that Childish Gambino performed in his underwear. It also rained right before the ceremony began, so the humidity was through the roof. But even when ceromonies are inside, it's going to be warm. When Hopkins crammed everyone in the gym for the boyfriend's graduation, it was a bit unpleasant- and I wasn't even the one in the gown.
Lastly, you should definitely keep your phone with you during the ceremony, on silent of course. You'll want to take pictures with your friends before the ceremony and you will for sure need it to meet up with your family afterwards. My college designated a classroom where we could leave our purses, but I opted to lock most of my things in my car, and carry my phone, car keys, and some lip balm with me.
With these tips in mind, I've styled five looks that are great for any graduation! I focused on outfits that would be comfortable under the gown, look great for pictures (with the gown closed, open, or off), and let you keep any essentials with you! The best part though - everything is from ShopBop, so you can use your Amazon Prime membership to have everything shipped via FREE two-day shipping!!
LOOK ONE - BLUE & GOLD
I love the color and asymmetry of this delicate romper. Rompers are great if you want something that looks similar to a dress in pictures, but you don't want to worry about it moving around too much under the gown. The elegant ruffles on the right side of the piece adds a flourish that you don't see in typical rompers. It is made from lightweight crepe fabric, which will help you stay cool and ready for pictures.
01. This House of Harlow necklace is a favorite of mine; it also comes in black, and I've worn that one to a few functions. I love the subtle texture of the white panels. This necklace makes a statement without drawing attention away from the overall look. 02. The skinny bars are a delicate touch to the outfit, but its the large gold plate that packs the biggest punch. Instead of making a statement, this bracelet works to balance out the non-ruffle side of the look. 03.This cork purse is big enough to fit your phone and a few other small essentials but small enough to wear under your gown. While this bag may seem natural and neutral at first glance, the metal hardware on the closure draws the eye, as do the metallic flecks adorning the cork. 04. If the ceremony is on grass, the gladiator sandals are the way to go. You don't have to worry about slipping around if the ground is uneven or the grass is wet (like you would in wedges), and you won't sink into the ground (like you would in heels).
LOOK TWO - PINK & GREEN
Dresses are the more traditional under-gown graduation style. While this dress has a traditional silhouette, the small front cut out and large box pleats keep it flirty and fun. The back zipper is complimented by two mesh panels, which will help your skin breathe during humid ceremonies. It also features a polyester-spandex lining for extra comfort.
01. The cat eye frames add an understated pop to the look. The pastel pink mirrored lenses may not be the best for the bright afternoon sun, but they are the perfect shades for a mid-morning ceremony. 02. I've become a big fan of Ringly tech rings since the "no electronics on the desk" rule was instituted at work. This ring will discreetly alert you to notifications on your phone. With four different vibrations, you can tell which notifications you should check, and which ones you can keep your phone politely stowed away. 03. When it comes to bags, Rebecca Minkoff is the queen. The simple quilts adds a gentle femininity to the look, while the chain with interwoven leather adds a bit of shine. While this bag may not fit perfectly under your gown, it can fit if you wear the strap long. It can also be worn doubled for a shorter look. 04. These peep toe booties are an understated way to round out the look. I love the simple nude leather contrasted with the aged-pewter heel, which is wide enough that you won't sink into the ground while walking to get your diploma.
LOOK THREE - NUDE & BLACK
This look is all about balancing minimalism with surprises. This tan top is understated and modest in the front, but features an exposed zipper, large triangle cut out, and twist accents on the back. The pure color and midi length make this skirt seem minimalistic, however, the fused material gives it a strong structure. The scalloped hem also gives the skirt a bit of a pop!
01. This necklaces is really two necklaces in one. The top is a delicate lariat silhouette featuring a bezel-set cubic zirconium. The second necklaces is the faceted black tourmaline pendent that drops from the chocker making a subtle statement. The adjustable lengths makes this necklace suitable for multiple necklines. 02. These glasses are a modern take on the classic aviator shape. The frames of these aviators feature luxe leather, which is further elevated by striking bronze hardware. 03. I am in love with the oversized tassel drawstring on this teeny bucket bag, which does make it hard to wear under your gown; but I would never want to hid this bag anyway. This bag is well suited to the person who has more than her phone, but sticks to a few essentials. There are no pockets, so its important to stick to the essentials with this bag or else you will constantly be digging through it. 04. These colorblocked booties are perfection to me. The simple colors add complexity without too much busyness, and the cutouts are perfectly placed (toes, instep, heel). These booties feature velcro closure to keep your feet snug and secure as well as a chunky, covered heel.
LOOK FOUR - LAVENDER & CORAL
I have a love for crop tops, but I know that there is a very delicate line. It's the line between wearing a crop top at your wedding (Vanderpump Rules) and channeling your inner Taylor Swift. The thin lattice stripe running down the center of this top may make it seem like it should fall on the racier side, but the structured bodice, delicate color, and high neckline prevent it from being to risqué. For Love & Lemons can also fall short of the T Swift classy standards, but this skirt passes the standards with flying colors. The tropical orange skirt features an easy jersey lining adorned with a delicate lace overlay and asymmetrical hem.
01. The cat eye frames keeps with the theme of unique shapes, which runs throughout this look. The simple wire arms add a bit of cool shine to the look, and the blush gold frames and shades make sure the statement is a subtle one. 02. If you're planning to wear your hair up or pulled back for graduation, I'd leave these earrings out. However, I think that they would be perfect peeking out of long hair. More like a surprise than a statement. The clusters of colorful crystals help carry the colors of the outfit throughout the entire look. 03. This is the smallest bag I've featured. The open top means you can easily access your phone as needed, but there isn't much room for anything else. The back of the sling features a card slot in case you want to keep ID, a credit card, or a card fob with you during the ceremony, The crossbody strap allows you to easily store your phone and card under the gown, while the natural grain leather won't make the outfit too busy after the gown comes off. 04. You have to be careful with how much height you add to this outfit (or any outfit that pairs short with short). The faux patent leather adds some shine, but doesn't detract or draw attention from the rest of the outfit. The natural cork wedge subtly adds the little lift this outfits needs.
LOOK FIVE - SUNNY YELLOW
Shorts are hella comfortable. I would wear them everyday if I took the time to lay out my clothes the night before. Instead I have on work dress in seven colors that I rotate through on days where I have no idea what to wear and waited until the last possible minute to get out of bed. I would totally wake up early for these high waisted Keepsake shorts. The well structured yellow top might poke out of your gown a bit, but I think it could be cute - especially if yellow is one of your school's colors. I love the contract of the high neckline and the plunging back with tieable bow.
01. I can't find anything happier than these sunny yellow aviators. The mirrored lenses add a dramatic update the the classic aviator style, which is complimented by the wire frames with neon temple tips. 02. This liquid bracelet looks like it could have been drizzled directly over your arm. My favorite part is that the bracelet is hinged, so you don't have to worry about it being too loose. The curved bands of the sculptural cuff act as an interesting contrast to the rest of the look. 03. This is the bag for whoever carries the most. It has an easy access front pocket for what you need most, as well as a zippered top which opens to a lined interior with one additional pocket. The chain strap is connected at the top by a lester panel for comfort. 04. Of all the shoes in this post, these are my favorite. I love the casual silhouette of the d'Orsay flat. While these flats may not typically be considered suitable to graduation, the pointed toe and embossed leather give them a more elegant feel. If you are going to buy any shoes for graduation, these are the ones I think you'd get the most use out of.
Annddddd BONUS ITEMS:
I wore a white dress for my high school graduation, so college was my first time doing the cap and gown thing. I learned at Baccalaureate that you need to use hair clips or bobby pins to keep your cap on during/after graduation. And sure, you could use the boring ones that match the color of your hair... but there are such colorful and glitter pins out there! You can always reuse these in your post-grad life, and they are a lot harder to lose than the boring ones.
Last, but certainly not least... I wish I thought of this three years ago. Why fold your program up into a fan when you can just bring your own!?