Graduation Dress

For many, choosing a graduation dress or suit is as simple as looking in one's own closet. For others, however, the search takes several months to find the perfect outfit. Before you choose what to wear to your graduation, read the following tips to help you select the best outfit.

Dress Codes
Many schools require students to follow certain dress codes for graduation ceremonies. Shopping for teen clothing, particularly graduation dress clothes, can be tricky. Teens often feel peer pressure to follow what is considered the norm when it comes to apparel. Others, however, seek out a different path when it comes to dress and often favor hip hop, punk, or Gothic clothing instead. Schools with stricter dress codes typically won't allow students to follow their own preferences, and if this is the case at your school, you may be out of luck.

Consider this your graduation is only one night of your life, and even though you may feel that you are conforming to someone else's preferences, the night will still be about you and your successes! Dress codes often include white dresses for girls and khakis or blue dress pants with white dress shirts for boys. If your school does expect graduates to follow a dress code, be sure you adhere to all aspects of it, including the following:

Length of dress
Style of shirts
Belt and tie requirements
Color of shoes
Strap styles (spaghetti or strapless allowed or not allowed)

Fabric Choices
Not only is the style of graduation dress important, but also the type of material should be considered as well. The time and place of your graduation should dictate to some extent the type of material you choose for graduation dress.

Warm Weather
If your graduation will be held outside in June, and you live in a warm climate, then look for a dress that will be cool and comfortable, preferably made out of cotton, linen, or silk. Remember, you'll be adding another layer to your clothing with the addition of a graduation robe. Guys may not have as many options, since they'll probably need to wear a dress shirt, but shirts that are cotton or cotton blend and short sleeved can be somewhat cooler and more comfortable. Unfortunately, some graduation robes actually bleed their color onto the garments underneath. If you must wear white, there isn't a lot you can do if this happens, although a professional cleaner may be able to clean the outfit. With this in mind, however, you might not want to spend a fortune on your graduation dress.

Cold Weather
For northern climates and those graduations held during the winter, appropriate clothing should also be chosen. Wool blends, flannels, mohair, and thicker cottons should keep you warmer and more comfortable. You might want to consider wearing under clothing, such as Under Armour as well, and add layers of additional clothing for extra warmth.

Appropriate Graduation Dress
If possible, try on your graduation robe before you purchase your graduation dress. You don't want to purchase a dress that has a longer length than that of the robe. You should not be able to see the hem of the dress beneath the robe. If you've already purchased your dress, consider having the dress hemmed for the ceremony. You can ask the seamstress to put in a temporary stitch that can be easily removed once the ceremony is over. If no dress code is required, graduation dress should still be appropriate and fit the occasion. Guys should wear dress shirts and pants, not jeans or active wear.

Shoes and Accessories
Shoes and accessories should be just as appropriate. Shoes should be dressy, so leave the tennis shoes and flip flops at home ! Consider the type of turf or flooring you'll be walking over as well. High, spiked heels won't work well on a football field. Wooden floors can be slippery as well. Girls should pay particular attention to their jewelry and hair accessories. Remember, you'll be wearing a graduation cap, and you don't want to have a hair band or barrette that will interfere with the fit of the cap

Additional Resources
Finally, consider shopping online and at your local department stores before deciding on a final purchase. The following web sites will get you started:

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