Graduation day is under a month away! It's surreal that college is almost over, but what's really been freaking me out lately is that I suddenly realized that I have nothing to wear during the ceremony. What do I do? Luckily, my aunt/godmother is a saint and took me shopping on Michigan Avenue a few weeks ago, so now I'm set! Here are some tips I thought about while shopping.


Steer clear of maxi dresses.

Graduation robes are long, but not that long, and having your dress stick out the bottom would probably look all sorts of silly. The best bet is to get something around knee length, so that it's both short enough to hide under your gown but long enough to be family and photo appropriate.

Remember you're going to be looking at these pictures for years.

One of my favorite pictures of my mom is a candid shot of her in her cap and gown on her graduation day that my grandma has sitting out in her house. She's in her full regalia, looking off into the distance and laughing - and the gown is unzipped so I can see her dress. Luckily, she wore something classy and timeless enough that the picture still looks great, x many years later (don't worry Mom, I won't say how many it's been). Keep this in mind when you shop! Don't go for anything too trendy because you'll be seeing these photos for years to come.

Get something that matches purple.

Northwestern undergraduate robes are purple, and since lots of pictures are taken with the robes unzipped, dresses have to match purple! I opted for a light blue that will *hopefully* look good with the purple, and will probably wear white to my other ceremony just because I already own it. Shoes are a problem for this same reason. They both have to match the purple of the robe and your outfit! Plan accordingly.

If possible, have pockets.

You're spending hours sitting on a chair on a field, so it's really unlikely tthat you're going to want to be holding a purse all day. Plus, how do you hold a purse with a robe? Cross it over? Wear it inside. Really, it's a lose-lose situation. But, if you have pockets, this isn't a problem! Drop all your stuff (aka your cell phone) in your pockets, give your bulky purse to your parents, and enjoy your freedom!

Remember you'll be walking on grass.

Graduation is also tricky because it may involve lots of walking on dirt and grass, so spiky heels are out. Go with flats, platforms or super chunky heels, because anything else is bound to sink.

Make sure it's not too bulky.

Because graduation gowns are basically large sacks, anything bulky or bumpy underneath with do nothing but make you look bigger than you are. For this reason, avoid anything with a poofy skirt and anything like large bows (although I avoided this advice for myself) unless you want to look like you have weird growths coming out of your side all day.


Happy shopping, and happy graduation!