Friday, May 6, 2011

Dressing for graduation: Getting inspiration from your major and other tips

We're finishing up the first week of May, and if you're a senior in college, that means one thing: graduation is imminent.

While graduation in and of itself is super exciting, there's one little thing that has the potential to cause some stress: choosing the right outfit.  Getting your degree is a huge step in your life, and you want to look your best.  But where do you start?

If you're struggling to figure out what to wear for your graduation day, think outside of the box for inspiration and examine your major.  You've spent the last several years of your life studying for your major, so why not take some inspiration from it?

Here are some outfit inspiration collages based on college majors...

Creative Writing

creative writing

Working as a creative writer calls for you to be professional, and yet still have a sense of childlike wonder.  Try a streamlined silhouette with a whimsical print to marry the best of both worlds.  For added whimsy, throw on some animal jewelry, as well.

Graphic Design

graphic design major

You've spent hours designing cool graphics, so why not wear an exciting, bold graphic the day of your graduation?  Use accessories too add fun pops of color.


anthropology major

You've been warned against it, but this is your last chance to break the rules - so go native!  Wear an ethnic or tribal print and give your outfit an other-worldly feel.  A straw clutch is an extra way to incorporate a cultural vibe.


theatre major

We all know you love playing dress up as frequently as possible (don't try to fool me - I have a Bachelor's in Theatre!), so go ahead and dress up on your graduation day.  Don't dress in full-out costume, but get inspiration from costumes.  I love the 1920s, so this flapper-inspired dress is a winner in my book.


literature major

Is it just me, or does the word literature just evoke an aura of romance?  Play this up by wearing romantic, feminine silhouettes in creamy colors.  A little lace never hurt anyone, either.


art major

You spend your time creating artwork, so why not wear a dress that's worthy of being called art?  Watercolor prints are making their way into this season, and the effect is beautiful.


education major

So you want to be a teacher?  You're a real class act!  (Pun may or may not be intended.)  Get on with your classy self and sport a classic silhouette with a classic print: polka dots.  Pearls perfectly finish off the look.


history major

You've spent hours learning about the different eras in history, so you musthave a favorite.  Get inspired by your favorite decade or historical period.  If you love the 60s, go for a fun mod look.


business major

You mean business!  Literally.  You're ready to start your career as a professional, so dress the part.  Dress like the powerful business woman you are!  And as an added bonus, it will be a smart purchase because you'll be able to wear the dress many times at the office.


chemistry major

You've spent plenty of time in a lab coat, so you're definitely comfortable in white.  But mix in a little color for lab coat-chic!  A pop of color in the clutch will make your outfit even more breathtaking.  Wear nude pumps to keep the focus wear it belongs.

Gender Studies

gender studies major

It hasn't always been socially acceptable for women to wear pants, so stick it to the man and wear a great pair of trousers.  As a general rule, stick to a dark hue.  Light colored pants hanging out of the bottom of a black gown can be a little distracting.


French major

Get some inspiration from the country whose  language you've been studying, and go for a Parisian black and white look.  Pops of red perfectly complete the monochromatic ensemble.


math major

You've spent the last several years studying geometry and angles and all that other mathematical stuff, so why not try a geometric print?  If a bold print intimidates you, go for separates instead of a dress.  Wear a printed skirt with a solid top, and draw emphasis to your waist with a coordinating belt.

Interior Design

interior design major

You're going to make a living designing pretty rooms, so wear a streamlined dress with interesting, pretty design elements.  Keep jewelry minimal, as to not distract from an already lovely dress.

Obviously, my inspiration collages deal with only a handful of a plethora of majors, but, if you're still stumped, here are some general guidelines concerning what not to wear to graduation:

what not to wear to graduation

1. Don't wear large, distracting earrings.  You don't want huge baubles hanging next to your face in graduation pictures.  Stick with small to moderate sized earrings.

2. Maxis are definitely in right now, but keep them out during graduation.  Having a hem dangling underneath the hem of your graduation gown can be a little awkward looking.  Instead, stick to tea length dresses or shorter...just don't ere on the side of hoochie, either.
3. Avoid very full skirts.  They'll make you look much larger than you are underneath your gown.
4. Similarly to above, avoid dresses that are full in the chest or shoulder area.  You don't want to look like there's a quarterback hiding underneath your gown.
5. You're not going to drop it like it's hot when you're accepting your diploma, so don't wear club wear.  It's just tacky.
6. You are graduating from college, so please don't wear a prom dress.
7. Don't wear bold, distracting shoes.  You want people to focus on your accomplishments as you're walking the stage - not your feet.  Stick to variations on the classics.  Your feet can make a statement another day.
8. Don't wear jarring, distracting colors on your shoes.  Incorporating color isn't necessarily bad, but use your best judgment and be reasonable.  Leave your neon stilettos at home.
9. If you can't walk across the room in your slammin' hot stilettos, don't attempt to walk across the stage in them.  Nobody wants to be the girl who trips over her own two feet.  Wear a heel height that you are comfortable with to avoid potential embarrassment.
  10. Under no circumstances should you wear flip flops.  I don't care if they're designer, $600 flip flops.  Flips flops at graduation=inappropriate.
11. Personally, I think flats and heels look better with graduation gowns than wedges.  However, if you choose to wear a wedge, make sure it's not of the overly casual variety.  Go for a clean, sophisticated pair.
12. If you've never tried a smoky eye, today is not the day to conquer it.  You don't want to look like you got punched in the face in all your pictures.  As a general rule, stick to makeup that you know suits you and that you know how to apply.
13. Your graduation ceremony may be emotional for you.  It's a big event in your life, so it's okay to be emotional.  That being said, it's not okay to have streams of mascara flowing down your face destroying the rest of your makeup.  If you're prone to tears, wear water proof mascara.  The raccoon look will never be in.

There you have it!

Did I miss anything?  Do you disagree with anything?  If you're graduating, how are you getting inspiration for your graduation outfit?

9 inclinations:

brah.john said...[Reply to comment]

What a great post! That must have taken you FOREVER, but every outfit is fabulous! Love that I found another DFW blogger...:) I picked Engineering as my real major, you make me want to re-evaluate based on all those great outfits!

brah.john said...[Reply to comment]

Hahah...oops. Guess husband is signed in. This is actually Jenni @!

Jessica Marie said...[Reply to comment]

@brah.john It did take quite a bit of time, but it was a LOT of fun putting this looks together! I didn't walk the stage when I got my Bachelor's because I was already working for my internship, but I'll walk the stage this fall when I get my Master's. My degree will be in communication, so it will be interesting to see how I can get inspired from that!

Jessica Marie said...[Reply to comment]

@brah.john Haha...I figured it was something like that. I was logged in once and my husband commented, "You're so cute!" I must've looked like the biggest narcissist! :)

Hilary Inspired said...[Reply to comment]

Hi Jess!

My name is Hilary and I just learned about you through Heather and Bo at Lost in glad I did, too. I am also a fellow Fort Worth style blogger and thought I would briefly introduce myself. Glad to make your acquaintance! (and awesome post! you have some great ideas and suggestions and I love the concept of using your major for outfit inspiration...keep it up!)

~ Hilary

herCatwalk said...[Reply to comment]

GREAT post!!! Wish I had this guide when I graduated from college! I would have had to pick between lit and gender studies though. :)

Jessica Marie said...[Reply to comment]

@Hilary Inspired Thanks, Hilary! I'm glad you stopped by! I'll have to check your blog out soon!

Jessica Marie said...[Reply to comment]

@herCatwalk Thanks so much! I'm a bit of a conglomerate myself - I studied Theatre and Sociology as an undergraduate - but I didn't walk the stage. I'll be getting my Master's in December, though, and I'll be walking then. My degree is in Communication, so that's a little more complicated to get inspiration from!

{av} | {long distance loving} said...[Reply to comment]

oh. my. heavens.

I'm a little behind on commenting, but I'm so happy to see your Friday’s Fancies post! This could have counted for about fourteen weeks of posts, I must say. I don't even think I could pick a favorite. I'm just so happy to have you as a FF Faithful :) Hope you're having a great week and to see you back this Friday! xoxo {av}

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