You are currently viewing What You Can Wear at Commencement as a Guest
Lulu Roe Nicole abstract print jersey dress, floral tights gift from my friend Greetje Kaminga from No Fears of Fashion, Very Fine Dance Shoes snadals, Hermes collier de chien bangle, citrine and moonstone statement necklace (all own) layering top c/o Cami Confidential

…. without looking like Mrs. Robinson. When you are over 40, you probably have watched the movie The Graduate where Mrs. Robinson goes after her daughter’s boyfriend. You give it a smile, but now what to wear to your kids graduation? When you are the graduate, it is straight forward what to wear. The same is true when you are the faculty. You just wear the regalia. But what to wear when you are the mom of the graduate? Read this post to get some inspirations what to wear at commencement for the various venues of the celebrations dependent on weather, and the location.

  1. Your Kid’s Graduation Means You Made It
  2. Graduation Must-haves
  3. What to Bring When the Location Is an Open-air Sports Arena
  4. What to Wear at Commencement Outfit Suggestions
  5. Outfit Ensembles to Try
  6. Commencement Don’ts
  7. Top of the World Style Linkup No. 304

Disclosure: This post has affiliate links.


Your Kid’s Graduation Means You Made It

When you have to attend a graduation, you should celebrate the graduate of course, but also that your money can now be redirected to you, and what you like, for instance, fashion and style. 😉

The graduation may be a sort of family reunion. Many photos will be taken. Therefore, avoid to wear the latest It trend of this year. It may look ridiculous in a decade from now, and you don’t want to be the amusement of the graduate’s future kids. 😉

Sure, you don’t want to wear what Mrs. Robinson was wearing in The Graduate. A bombshell style look is not a good idea. Instead, create an outfit that is comfortable for sitting thru three hours, and can go from the early morning festivities to the reception after commencement.


Graduation Must-haves

Create an outfit that is classic, but sassy and comfortable for a day long marathon of inside and outside events. You will be on your feet a lot running from one event to the next where you will sit or stand for a long time before running to the next event. You are actually only interested in the graduate who invited you (when you are the mother, aunt or a family friend), which means that sitting thru 3 to 4 hours of names read and graduates passing the stage will be pretty boring. So have something to read. Put the book into the commencement book, so it not so obvious what you actually read.


mixed prints and layering for an interesting stylish look
Side view jersey dress with floral tights


fashion influencer in floral tights, abstract print dress over layering top
Lulu Roe Nicole abstract print jersey dress, floral tights gift from my friend Greetje Kaminga from No Fears of Fashion, Very Fine Dance Shoes snadals, Hermes collier de chien bangle, citrine and moonstone statement necklace, coordinates bangle c/o oNecklace and layering top c/o Cami Confidential



What to Bring When the Location Is an Open-air Sports Arena

It the graduation ceremony is in an open-air sports arena, taking these aspect into consideration you will need to pack the following into your tote

  • Sun-cream and sunglasses
  • Reading glasses and a book
  • A camera to take better quality photos than with your cell phone
  • A wrap or cardigan to stay comfortable in chilly air conditioning or the shade
  • A water bottle to stay hydrated
  • Rain protection (packable trench coat is stylish and works best) in case the weather becomes nasty (thunderstorm or rain)
  • Sun hat. No large brim as it will block the view for the people behind you when the event is in an open sports arena.

Tip: A backpack is not what to wear at commencement. It will hit kids in the face when you turn around and is an invitation for theft.

If the graduation celebrations are in an indoor ice arena like it is for the University of Alaska Fairbanks commencement, it may be chilly. Thus, a layered outfit is best.


commencement guest outfit suggestions for women in midlife
Side view wrinkle-free jersey dress


over 50 years old woman in a commencement guest outfit
Front view classic dress


Stylist in commencement guest outfit
Karina paisley print dress with Kieselstein Cord belt and buckle, Gloria Vanderbilt pumps, and halftee c/o Halftee


Due to the pandemic, some universities became creative with drive-thru graduates and guests parking in prescribed areas. When you don’t want to idle your car for heating, it is best to wear a layered look like in the featured photo of this post.


What to Wear at Commencement Outfit Suggestions

Outfit-wise you want to be comfortable at all the different events like mass, commencement, reception, and later dinner. Think business casual style, i.e. go for a modest outfit in fabrics that cannot be caught in folding chairs or sport arena chairs, are not too sensitive to spills from cake frosting, juice or coffee, and don’t wrinkle when sitting for a long time. Go for a festive business casual attire. For your own comfort, avoid anything that can cut in and become uncomfortable.


Outfit Ensembles to Try

Here are some outfit ensembles of what to wear at commencement that look great and permit enjoying the celebrations in comfort:

  • Sundress with statement belt, fabric tote, and flat sandals
  • Straight or full skirt with button-down blouse/shirt, 2.5 inch (5 cm) block heel pumps, a cardigan and a lady-like tote
  • Jersey dress like the one in the OOTD (as it won’t wrinkle when you sit) with cropped jacket or wrap, bucket bag and espadrilles
  • Dressy joggers (not sweat pants) with white button-down shirt, long leopard print or striped jacket with shoulder satchel and open-toe pumps
  • Shift/A-line dress with medium size bag and wedge heels
  • If you are an immigrant, consider wearing a traditional festive outfit of the country of your origin
stylist in sheath dress with Almo necklace showing what to wear to commencement
18K gold plated onyx and white jade necklace c/o Almo Jewellery with own Calvin Klein sheath dress, Esprit shoulder bag, Ray Ban Jackie O. sunglasses, Hermes collier de chien bangle, Christian Louboutain pumps and Moda International cardigan posh chic work outfit


Nicole of High Latitude Style in abtract floral print work dress, cropped scuba jacket and ankle strap pumps
Banana Republic abstract floral print dress, Tahari scuba jacket, Covington ankle strap pumps, Modalu Pippa bag, DIY brooch, Hermes collier de chien bangle


style book author in non-wrinkle summer dress with cardigan
u-knit summer dress, GNW short sleeve cardigan, L.K. Bennett wedge pumps, Moschino belt, Hermes collier de chien bangle, statement necklace,and bracelet


Commencement Don’ts

Here is a list of things to avoid in addition to dressing like Mrs. Robinson 😉 :

  • Forgetting to check the weather forecast
  • New shoes – blister alert
  • Wide brim hats
  • Tight clothes
  • High heeled shoes
  • Too much skin (large cleavage, cold shoulder trend, hanger dresses, micro-mini)
  • Backpacks
  • Not switching off your phone


The event may be more interesting when you know how to decode regalia.

When you liked the outfit recipes of this post, and want recipes for all kind of dressing situation in midlife, buy my book How to Dress for Success in Midlife.

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Top of the World Style Linkup No. 304

banner of the weekly Top of the World Style linkup party on Thursdays

Welcome to the Top of the World Style linkup party.


Martina Berg in floral paisley summer dress with booties and belt
Martina Berg from Lady 50 Plus became Top of the World OOTD Readers’ Fav. Photo from her post


Shelbee in gipsy Bohemian inspired maxi dress crochet jacket and multiple braids
Shelbee from Shelbee on the Edge became the Top of the World Style winner. Photo from her post


Carrie in pink straight skirt, yellow cardigan, pumps floral top
Carrie from A Simple Lovely Life became the Top of the World OOTD My Fav. Photo from her post


Congrats Ladies! Grab your award buttons.


Gateway to the Party Room


See these awesome looks at the Top of the World Style #linkup party. #timelessstyle Click To Tweet

I invite all fashion and style bloggers to co-host the top of the World Style linkup party. Just send me an email with your request.

Photos of me: G. Kramm

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