What to Wear to a Graduation Party: The Ultimate Guide

As graduation season approaches, the excitement and anticipation of dressing for the occasion can be both thrilling and overwhelming, whether you’re a proud graduate or a supportive guest.

We’ve put together the ultimate guide on what to wear to a graduation party. With carefully curated tips and suggestions, we’ll help you dress to impress while celebrating this special occasion.

Short Summary

  • Graduation party attire should be tailored to the occasion, from casual backyard gatherings to formal events.
  • Outfit ideas for graduates and guests include bold colors, classic elegance and dressy casual wear with appropriate accessories.
  • Dress code etiquette should be observed when selecting graduation party outfits for a polished look that puts focus on the graduate.

Graduation Party Styles

Graduation parties come in all shapes and sizes, from casual backyard gatherings to formal events. Understanding the type of party you’re attending, is key to selecting the outfit.

In this section, we’ll explore various graduation party styles and provide outfit ideas to ensure you look your best, no matter the occasion.

Casual Backyard Gatherings

When it comes to casual backyard gatherings, prioritizing comfort is essential. Opt for summer dresses in light tones or pair blouses with linen, cotton, or silk trousers and skirts. Alternatively, wear jeans with a statement top. Consider layering as well, with light sweaters, blazers, or cardigans to ensure your comfort in changing temperatures.

Choose comfortable shoes with a small heel, such as sandals or pumps.

  1. Alessandra Rich: Sequined Metallic Bouclé-Tweed Blazer
  2. Paco Rabanne: Broderie Anglaise Cotton Midi Shirt Dress
  3. Manolo Blahnik: Callasli 90 Croc-Effect Slingback Sandals
  1. Helen Kaminski: Hester Boater Hat
  2. Emilia Wickstead: Osbourne Floral-Print Taffeta-Faille Maxi Dress
  3. Manolo Blahnik: Callasli 90 Croc-Effect Slingback Sandals
  1. Manolo Blahnik: Callasli 90 Croc-Effect Slingback Sandals
  2. Adam Lippes: One-Shoulder Ruffled Cotton-Poplin Top
  3. Lisa Marie Fernandez: Sailor Cotton-Blend Wide-Leg Pants

Formal Events

Cocktail dresses, suits, or jumpsuits with heels are classic choices for a formal party. Don’t forget to accessorize with jewelry and a clutch to elevate your ensemble.

When it comes to footwear, choose something that is both elegant and comfortable. Heeled pumps and sandals are both excellent choices.

  1. Emilia Wickstead: Adele Pleated Floral-Print Duchesse-Satin Midi Dress
  2. David Yurman: Starburst 18-Karat Gold and Diamond Earrings
  3. Jimmy Choo: Rommy 100 Satin Pumps
  1. Jimmy Choo: Rommy 100 Satin Pumps
  2. Alessandra Rich: Sequined Metallic Bouclé-Tweed Blazer
  3. Valentino Garavani: Silk-Crepe Wide-Leg Pants

Semi-Formal Parties

Semi-formal parties can be a bit tricky, as they require a balance between casual and formal attire.

When selecting an outfit for graduation, consider options like midi dresses or a combination of a white shirt with wide-leg pants or a pleated skirt.

To elevate your semi-formal ensemble, consider adding accessories such as a silk scarf or a hat that will infuse a touch of style. Don’t forget to choose footwear that complements your outfit, such as heels, stylish flats, or loafers.

  1. Dior: Jardin d’Hiver 90 Square Silk Scarf
  2. Alaïa: Cotton-Poplin Shirt
  3. Stella McCartney: Wool-Blend Wide-Leg Pants
  1. Resistol: Rusty Spur Cowboy Hat
  2. Alaïa: Cotton-Poplin Shirt
  3. Bottega Veneta: Leather Straight-Leg Pants

Graduates’ Outfit Ideas

Graduates, it’s your time to shine at your high school graduation ceremony! As you celebrate your accomplishments, your outfit should reflect your unique personality and style.

In this section, we’ll explore graduation outfit ideas ranging from colorful and bold to classic and elegant.

Colorful and Bold

For those who want to make a statement on their big day, opt for a bright or bold dress, or even a print.

For a graduation ceremony, consider wearing a stunning yellow dress paired with a baby blue handbag and white pumps. Another stylish option is a floral print midi dress, complemented by a green cardigan. If you prefer, you can also choose polka dots or stripes instead of floral prints.

Instead of wearing a dress, consider pairing a blouse with wide-leg pants for a stylish alternative. For instance, you can combine a white blouse adorned with feathers with orange trousers, or pair white pants with a ruffled red top. To complement the outfit, choose earrings that match the shade of the orange trousers. In both cases, opt for white sandals to complete the look.

  1. Huishan Zhang: Tulip Belted Frayed Tweed Midi Dress
  2. Tyler Ellis: Winnie Bag
  3. Manolo Blahnik: Callasli 90 Croc-Effect Slingback Sandals
  1. Madeleine Thompson: Allegra Cable-Knit Wool and Cashmere Cardigan
  2. Carolina Herrera: Floral Print Stretch-Cotton Poplin Midi Dress
  3. Manolo Blahnik: Callasli 90 Croc-Effect Slingback Sandals
  1. Suzanne Kalan: Fireworks 18-Karat Gold Ruby and Diamond Earrings
  2. Huishan Zhang: Lola Feather-Trimmed Crepe Blouse
  3. Sergio Hudson: Stretch-Wool Crepe Wide-Leg Pants
  1. Resistol: Grand Cowboy Hat
  2. Molly Goddard Clarice Tiered Ruffled Tulle Top
  3. Valentino Garavani: Silk-Crepe Wide-Leg Pants

Classic and Elegant

If you’re still unsure what to wear to a graduation party, opt for a more timeless and sophisticated look.

For one example, we have opted for a pink tulle gown paired with a pearl necklace and white pumps. Another option for a graduation party would be a mini white dress paired with black accessories and shoes. In both cases, we have incorporated feather embellishments to add a touch of playfulness to your graduation celebration.

  1. Jenny Packham: Feather-Trimmed Embellished Tulle Gown
  2. Mateo: 14-Karat Gold Pearl Necklace
  3. Jimmy Choo: Rommy 100 Satin Pumps
  1. 16Arlington: Umiko Feather-Trimmed Satin Mini Dress
  2. Gucci: Dionysus Embellished Mini Bag
  3. Saint Laurent: Tribute Woven Mules

Guests’ Outfit Ideas

As a guest attending a graduation party, it’s essential to dress appropriately for the occasion while allowing the graduate to take center stage. In this section, we’ll explore outfit ideas for various party styles and provide tips on how to look your best while supporting the graduate on their special day.

When selecting an outfit for a graduation party, it’s important to consider the type of outfit.

Dressy Casual

Dressy casual outfits are perfect for guests attending a more laid-back graduation party. Options such as a maxi dress or a blouse with dress pants strike the perfect balance between style and comfort.

When selecting your dressy casual outfit for a casual event, consider the location and weather of the event. Layering with a light sweater, blazer, or cardigan can help you stay comfortable. Complete your ensemble with comfortable and stylish footwear, such as heeled sandals or flats.

  1. Alaïa: Le Mina 16 Vienne Wave Tote
  2. Huishan Zhang: Lola Feather-Trimmed Crepe Blouse
  3. Alexander McQueen: Wool Wide-Leg Pants
  1. Gucci: Horsebit-Detailed Leather Pumps
  2. Adam Lippes: One-Shoulder Ruffled Cotton-Poplin Top
  3. Huishan Zhang: Martina Tweed Culottes


For semi-formal graduation parties, guests should opt for attire that is a step up from casual, yet not overly formal. You can choose from options like cocktail dresses, jumpsuits or dress pants with a statement blouse.

When selecting your semi-formal outfit, consider the time of day and location of the event. For daytime parties, lighter colors and fabrics are suitable, while evening events call for darker hues and more luxurious materials.

We selected a baby blue blazer paired with a maxi pencil skirt, accentuated by gold jewelry. Complete the look with a pair of white pumps.

  1. David Yurman: Stax 18-Karat Gold Diamond and Emerald Bracelet
  2. Officine Générale: Mathilde Denim Blazer
  3. Lafayette 148: Cady Maxi Skirt

Accessorizing Your Graduation Party Outfit

Accessories are an essential component of graduation outfits. In this section, we’ll explore various accessory options, including footwear, jewelry, and bags, to help you complete your ensemble.


The right choice of footwear can make a significant impact on both comfort and style for your grad party outfit. For casual events, consider sandals or wedges. For more formal occasions, opt for heels or suede loafers.

It is also important to take into account the location and planned activities for the event. If you anticipate walking on grass or uneven surfaces, block heels or wedges can provide added stability. Above all, ensure that your chosen footwear is comfortable enough to be worn throughout the entire event.


For casual events, consider simple pieces like lockets, hoops, or stud earrings. For more formal occasions, classic pieces like a pearl necklace or earrings with gemstones are ideal choices.

When selecting jewelry to complement your graduation party outfit, consider the style and colors of your ensemble. Delicate necklaces, bracelets, or statement earrings can enhance any attire, while vibrant pieces provide a contrast to a more understated or muted outfit.


Clutches, crossbody bags, and small totes are all suitable options for stylish and practical accessories. When selecting a bag, consider the size and functionality, ensuring it’s large enough to accommodate your essentials.

In addition to size and functionality, consider the style and color of your bag. Choose a bag that complements your outfit, whether it’s a bold clutch for a pop of color or a neutral crossbody bag for a more understated look.

Dress Code Etiquette

Dress code etiquette is essential for graduation parties, as guests should dress modestly and not outshine the graduate. When selecting an outfit, consider the formality of the event and the style of your ensemble.

For casual backyard gatherings, opt for simple jewelry and comfortable footwear, such as sandals or flats. For formal events, classic pieces like a pearl necklace or elegant earrings are ideal choices, while semi-formal parties are a great opportunity to make a bolder statement, for example, with a brooch or a chunky bracelet.

In addition to following dress code etiquette, it’s important to consider the location and time of the graduation party when selecting your outfit. Outdoor events may require more weather-appropriate attire, such as layers or sun protection, while indoor parties may call for more formal attire.

Above all, remember that the focus of the graduation party is on the graduate and their accomplishments. Dress modestly and stylishly, allowing the graduate to take center stage.


In summary, when preparing for a graduation party, it’s essential to consider an outfit that mirrors your personality, adheres to dress code etiquette, and is complemented by thoughtful accessories.

Discover the perfect attire for celebration with our guide on what to wear to a graduation party.

Frequently Asked Questions

What should I wear to a graduation party as a guest?

For a graduation party, opt for modest silhouettes in soft colors. Choose either a dress or stylish pants with a blouse combination – avoid jeans and overly bright colors or bold patterns.

What do you wear to an afternoon graduation party?

Opt for a semi-formal ensemble such as a dress, skirt, dress shirt, jumpsuit, or dress pants. Consider adding layers to accommodate changing weather conditions.

Complete your look with ankle-strap heels or sandals to achieve a stylish and suitable outfit for the graduation celebration.

What do guys wear to a graduation party?

When attending a graduation party, men can elevate their appearance by wearing a tailor-made suit paired with a tie or a dress shirt and dark trousers.

Complete the ensemble with suede loafers, such as those in a rich navy blue hue, to achieve a polished and stylish look.

Featured image by Maksim Karpiuk.

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