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Are Graduation Dresses Supposed to Be White?

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In the world of fashion, it seems like there are as many rules as there are individuals breaking them. If you’ve got a graduation ceremony coming up, you probably know that women are traditionally expected to wear white. In fact, wearing white dresses and carrying red roses has been a part of some schools since the late 1800s, according to the New York Times.

Unless you’ve got an unspoken tradition at your school, you can approach your graduation outfit from a variety of angles, including a classic approach as well as some bolder, more colorful options. With so many cameras on the big day, you definitely want to look your best when you graduate. Here are three things to consider when looking at graduation dresses to wear to your ceremony.

For a traditional look, go with white

Symbolizing new beginnings, white makes perfect sense as a color for your graduation ceremony. After all, you’re about to transition from being a student to being an adult in the “real world” – perhaps one of the biggest new beginnings you’ll ever encounter. In some schools, such as the University of Southern California, wearing a white dress to your graduation is almost an “implicit rule,” as Lisa Butterworth reports for the USC News.

graduation ceremony

If you have a classic approach to style, wearing white for graduation is a no-brainer. Don’t worry about looking like every other girl, though. There are plenty of ways to differentiate your look by picking a dress that really fits your body type and sense of style. Consider looking at graduation dresses with lace, sleeves, or even crocheted elements to add some visual interest to your outfit.

Feel free to mix things up with your school colors

If your school isn’t an institution with a history of girls wearing white to graduation, feel free to wear something more colorful to the ceremony. One popular way to add color to your outfit and show school spirit at the same time is to wear your school’s colors. By analyzing the most dominant colors across all schools’ sports teams, you’ll see that plenty of the front runners are great choices for dress colors, too. The two most popular colors, red and blue, both make for an elegant look that you’ll be able to wear again and again. Similarly, gold and yellow are also popular team colors which pair nicely with the black gowns typically worn to a graduation ceremony. Simply pick one of the two colors to foreground your outfit with, and accessorize and complement the dress with the secondary color to create a spirited, unforgettable look.

Consider prints and colors for spring time

Since most graduations occur in May, you may also want to think about wearing more colorful or floral prints to graduation. Glamour has some excellent suggestions for spring color trends in 2019, including pale yellows and golds, as well as varying shades of orange. They also suggest differing hues of the spring favorite, green, from kelly green to mint green.

Aside from thinking about how specific colors can steer your choice of graduation dress, spring is also an excuse to buy a fun printed dress. While floral prints are a common go-to for springtime, there are plenty of other prints to consider when shopping for a spring dress, too. Lately, prints with fruits and vegetables have been popping up, as well, so if you’re looking for a really playful graduation dress, consider buying a patterned dress to make a statement. Some floral prints may also incorporate your school’s colors, allowing you to double down on the tips in this guide.

While many schools have a tradition of wearing white to graduation, there are plenty of other options to consider, too. From spring trends to school colors, you’ll be sure to find a great look if you start to think outside the box a little bit.

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