How to dress up for graduation?

Posted by Atte Rytkönen on 19.4.2017 in General

The end of school year is soon coming to an end again. So it is time to take a look at how to dress up for graduation party. As there for sure are many who are at the moment looking for the right outfit, here is a list of the most important things to take into consideration.

How to dress up for graduation – 8 simple tips

This post has earlier been published at tyylit.fi. As the season is on hand again, I updated it. And it is good to remember that these tips are not only for those who are looking for answers to the question how to dress up for graduation. In fact these simple basics will keep you covered through almost any summer party from weddings to birthdays and cocktail parties.

How to suit up for graduation - navy blue suit with blue grenadine tie
Navy blue suit with white shirt and navy grenadine tie.

1. Buy a (dark) blue single-breasted suit made of wool / cotton

First of all, it doesn’t really matter where you buy your suit. And remember it does not need to the be the most expensive one. The most important thing is that you choose and buy a suit that suits you. And fits you. Go for classic colors, patterns, and styles. Make sure that there is no colorful contrast stitching or extra button holes on the collar of your jacket. Also avoid all funny and fashionable details. Finally pick a suit that’s made of lightweight wool or cotton. Avoid shiny synthetic fiber fabrics.

2. Make sure your suit fits you correctly – take it to a tailor

Every (young)  man should understand that there are only handful of people to who ready-to-wear clothes are perfectly fitted without any alterations. A well fitting suit does not just look better on you. It also feels better on you. Remember to have at least to get your jacket sleeves and trousers fixed. And when you are buying your suit, make sure it fits you from the shoulders. Sleeves and trouser length are easy to fix but restructuring the shoulder line is much more complicated and expensive project. And to make sure that your tailor have enough time to do the alterations, don’t leave the purchase to the last day. See the link to read the basics about how your suit should fit.

How to suit up for graduation - navy blue cotton suit

3. White button-up shirt – keep it simple

First of all make sure that the shirt fits you well. Especially pay attention to the collar, chest and sleeve lenght. Make sure the shirt is not too tight on your throat.

In terms of buying a dress shirt for a party the most important things to pay attention are color and fit. White is always a safe choice. One can not go wrong with white. For a casual summer party one can consider other colors or shades as well but I would be careful with those. If you want to wear for example a pink shirt, that’s basically alright. However forget colors like yellow, lime green, bright pink or bright blue. And as you are looking for a shirt for summer party, I don’t recommend any dark shades either.

Good fit is not just about aesthetics. As already said, a well-fitted shirt or a suit also makes you feel better. And more comfortable. When the shirt fits you right you don’t need to pay attention to that. In fact you don’t even notice you are wearing one.

 

how to dress up for graduation - white oxford cotton shirt
White oxford cloth shirt with soft collar is a versatile choice for formal and casual use.

4. Dark blue or gray – it is recommendable to wear a tie

Tie is not necessary for a graduation party. But I strongly recommend to wear one. But forget Hawaii prints and other boldly patterned options. Instead acquire plain, high-quality silk or wool tie. And learn how to tie a nice four-in-hand knot. The width of your tie should be in balance with your shirt and jacket collar width. It also should be in balance with your own body type. If you are looking for something a bit more relaxed and casual, knit tie is a good and appropriate option.

how to dress up for graduation - navy DLA grenadine tie
Navy blue grenadine tie is a classic for any party.

 

5. Choose appropriate accessories – keep your outfit in balance

Accessories are one way to bring up your own personality. Or add a little variation to your outfit. However again I want to emphasize that even with accessories going with the simple choices is most often the best choice. If you are not sure what your are doing go for a white linen pocket square. Or a pocket square that features restrained pattern and that matches your tie and shirt. But never go for matchy-matchy combination with tie and pocket square featuring the exact same pattern.

If you wear a suit trousers with belt loops, choose a leather belt that matches your shoes. And make sure the belt buckle is simple, small and restrained. Another option is to wear your trousers with braces. This is something I highly recommend. So when you take your suit to a tailor, ask him or her to add buttons for braces inside your trousers.

With black shoes go for black or dark blue socks. In terms of blue choose a shade that is darker than your suit. With brown shoes I recommend to go with dark blue socks.

how to dress up for graduation - DLA symposium pocket square
Burgundy color is easy to combine with your blue suit and gray or blue tie.

 

6. Dress shoes – prefer black oxfords

In the end it all comes up to your shoes. Good and high-quality shoes are the cornerstone of good style and dressing up. On the other hand poor quality shoes can make otherwise perfect outfit to look bad. So pay attention to your shoes when dressing up for graduation party. By investing in a pair of quality shoes you will make sure that you belong to the best dressed 10% of your class. Cap-toe oxford is the most formal shoe type there is. And that is my suggestion to wear with your suit. If you want to go fully formal set-up, choose black color. Though for a graduation party dark brown shoes are also appropriate.

Read more about black oxfords.

7. Polish your shoes – and remember to wear them before the party

Remember to make sure that you have polished your shoes before the shoes. But even more important than the shine of your shoes is that they are comfortable to wear. So if you buy new shoes for your graduation party, remember to wear them at least a couple of times before the big day.

Read more about how to take care of your shoes.

how to dress up for graduation - black oxford shoes
If you want to go for full formal kit, I recommend to wear oxford shoes with your suit.

8. Stand with your back straight and chin up

Last but not least. It does not matter how expensive suit or shoes you are wearing, if you don’t wear them with pride and comfort. So keep your back straight and chin up. In the end it comes up to the fact how a man can carry his clothes. Therefore this is the most important thing to remember when thinking about how to dress up for graduation.

And finally – have fun, it’s a celebration.

You can find the original post written in Finnish at tyylit.fi.