…. 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? Read this post to get some inspirations for the various venues of the celebrations and dependent on weather and the location.
- Your Kid’s Graduation Means You Made It
- Graduation Must-haves
- Commencement Outfit Suggestions
- Commencement Don’ts
- Top of the World Style Linkup No. 304
Disclosure: This post has affiliate links.
Your Kid’s Graduation Means You Made It
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?
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.
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.
It the graduation ceremony is in an open-air sports arena, taking these aspect into consideration you will need to pack the folowing 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 won’t work as 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.
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.
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.
Here are some outfit suggestion to look great and enjoy the celebrations in style and 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
Victoria Victoria Beckham silk cat-print dress with GNW cardigan, and Esprit bag (all own)
Sheath dress c/o Lookbook Store with own Great Northwest suede safari inspired jacket, Salavtore Ferragamo Vara pumps, and Jaeger tote
Siren India Hicks scarf c/o Tammy Gray with own Coach bag, Via Spiga slingbacks, Paloma Picasso sunglasses and jersey dress c/o Blue Vanilla
Calvin Klein striped sheath dress with Moda International cardigan, Esprit bag, Christian Louboutin pumps (all own) and necklace c/o Almo Jewellery
Baby pink dress c/o Lookbook Store worn with own Madonna True or Dare floral pumps, Esprit bag, and DIY necklace
Banana Republic sleevesless abstract floral print summer work dress, Covington ankle strap pumps, Modalo Pippa bag, Hermes collier de chien bangle, DIY brooch (all own)
G-III skirt with Moda International sweater, steal blue blazer, Aldo leopard print pumps, vintage Esprit bag (all own) and statement necklace c/o Almo Jewellery
Ariana wedge slides c/o Vionic Shoes worn with own eShakti jersey fit-and-flaredress, and GNW floral print cardigan
Calvin Klein striped sheath dress with GNW cardigan, and L.K. Bennett wedge patent leather heels (all own)
Karina polka dot wrap, Tommy Hilfiger ankle strap sandels, Jord watch, Hermes collier de chien bangle, blue Kieselstein Cord belt (all own), white frame sunglasses c/o glassesonline.com, and work briefcase c/o thirty-one
Abstract floral print Eli Tahari sheath dress with Moschino belt and and studded slingbacks (all own)
Alexander Wang dress with Paloma Picasso belt, Michael Kors sandals and straw hat (all own)
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)
- Not switching off your phone
Are you attending a graduation this year? Are you looking forward to the event? Where will it take place? Have you already picked your outfit? Let me know, I am curious. Also let me know when you have a fashion or style question you want help with, advice or an opinion on.
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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When you like the outfits, why not pinning them to your Pinterest board?
Top of the World Style Linkup No. 304
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