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What Do You Wear for Graduation Photos?

A graduation wardrobe involves more than just the traditional cap and gown. Here is an easy checklist to follow to make sure you have the right wardrobe for your graduation photos: 

Academic stole

Wearing a sash-like stole over your gown will add a distinguished touch to your photos. You can earn one through a sports team or club you participated in, or even volunteer or military service outside of school.

Many African American students don stoles in the vibrant patterns of Ghanaian tradition, known as Kente stoles, for their graduation photos.

Honor cords

Just like stoles, wearing honor cords will help you stand out from the rest of the matching graduation robes, while highlighting a unique part of your school experience.

Most often associated with academic honors, wearing cords can also symbolize your belonging to particular field of study or a Greek organization, or like stoles, to a specific school club or team.

Cap and gown

While you likely won’t forget about these two important parts of your grad wardrobe, there are some rules to follow to make sure you’re wearing them the right way:

Your gown should be neatly pressed before the graduation photos, and inspected closely for any visible stains, defects, or loose threads.

Make sure your mortarboard hat faces the right way and covers at least two thirds of the top of your head. Use bobby pins if you’re having trouble with the fit. The tassel should hang over the left side of the cap before commencement, and to the right side after. 

While you can take some without it, make sure you wear your cap for most of your graduation photos.

Beneath the gown 

The items worn underneath your gown should be both comfortable and appropriate for the occasion. Men will typically wear a collared shirt with a tie, and women a nice blouse, as the v-neck design of most graduation gowns will expose the shirts beneath.


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