Top-Of-The-Class Outfit Ideas For Your 2023 College Graduation

A go-to graduation outfit probably isn't one of the forever pieces you always have in your wardrobe, and oftentimes, it can feel like there's no real dress code for what goes under your gown. With such a monumental accomplishment under your belt, you'll want to look your best once the graduation regalia comes off. Even if that won't be until the party later, just knowing that you've got a jaw-dropping outfit underneath can boost your confidence and make your graduation photos look more put together, especially when it comes to cute shoes or longer bottoms. 

With how fast fashion trends can change, there's no one way to style a graduation look. With that in mind, there's something for every personal style that will look perfect at graduation, and for each look, there's a handful of different ways to make it your own. From the ultra formal and glitzy to the more relaxed or academic, your graduation look says as much about you as the amount of work you've put in to secure your degree. With the hard work finally over, for the moment, it's time to let go and live in the moment — and to look good while doing it with one of these college graduation looks. 


One of the easiest and cutest routes to go is the iconic little black dress. There are countless ways to upgrade your LBD style with accessorizing, and the look never falls out of style. Black goes with pretty much everything, so the classic little black dress will go perfectly with the color of your cap and gown, or any other regalia you'll be sporting. The best part about a little black dress is that you won't see it underneath your graduation attire, so once it's time to take that cap and gown off, you're sure to stun everyone with your look!


For a more scholarly look, cuffs, ties, and neutral colors work perfectly. This long-sleeved turtle neck dress with a charming bow at the waist is a great way to blend high fashion and simplicity. This look can support a mix of different shoe choices and will look adorable when you unzip your gown to show off what you're rocking underneath. Dress it up with heels and hair accessories, or go for the extra-academic look by wearing flats or loafers. 

Leather looks

Leather skirt, leather jacket, leather shoes: The edgy leather everything trend isn't going anywhere this Spring. It's a perfect mix and a great way to get in a little danger for your post-grad look. The pleated leather skirt and oversized belt and buckle look are especially dexterous and can pair well with a multitude of other styles, colors, and cuts. If you feel like the all-leather look is too much, you can stick to just one element; the skirt, especially, is a cute choice. Want even more edge? Pair this look with a bold, red lip color to really turn heads. 

Flirty floral

Floral is definitely in this year, but then, when isn't it? Florals are a great way to bring a pop of color and fun to your look, and they'll look great dressed up or down for the exact vibe you're going for. Longer floral dresses or skirts can be shown off from beneath the hem of your robe, and shorter ones can be a surprise once you're done with your gown. Floral prints are easy to accessorize with jewelry, bags, and hair accessories, so if you're going for the full ensemble, this is a great choice. To beat the heat of an out-doors graduation, try a low pony to keep your hair off your shoulders; then you can keep the extra length of a maxi floral dress. 

Slay with suede

Suede is definitely having its moment, and the material does an amazing job at making just about any cut or color look a little more professional. Suede goes great with other materials, usually complimenting instead of clashing, and can elevate your post-graduation look. Suede is best for those looking to dress in more neutral tones, and a suede shoe is a surefire way to look good in your cap and gown. Feeling extra confident and cutting edge? Suede on suede is a daring look that can truly make you shine. 

Stripe stripe baby

Vertical stripes are owning the moment by breaking up the monotony of a single-colored piece to make it stand out just a bit more. Mix-and-match stripes are in, too, like in this half-and-half button-up dress. If you want to pay a little homage to your school, you can usually find striped clothing in just about any color, so securing an outfit striped in your school's colors shouldn't be too difficult. Pair with a sandal for a more casual, summery look, or a heel to look more formal. 

All the beige

Beige is all the rage, and it's super easy to dress it up. Sexy, professional, and savvy, beige-on-beige is an easy style to pull off while making accessorizing blissfully easy. This is another look that isn't going to clash with your robe, cap, and other graduation regalia. Style with white, black, or gold for maximum results. Feel like it's a little too monochromatic for you? Feel free to throw in an accessory to be your color pop, or let this outfit carry an extra creative makeup look. 


Largely popular on social media sites such as Instagram and TikTok, cottagecore and other "core" styles have become more mainstream over the course of the years. With a gentle, woodsy aesthetic, cottagecore strikes a perfect balance between the academic style and a more casual, cute style. This makes it the perfect attire for your graduation. Mix it up with plaid, mustard yellows, and leather handbags, or incorporate some green or foliage into your look. Just remember: You'll have to take off any cute hats to don your cap, but if you've got hat hair afterward, already having another hat on hand for your after-look may just save the day. 

Summer sky

Bodycon midi dresses are all the rage right now, and a sky-blue color is just the fresh touch the look needs. The real grab for this dress is the slit up the thigh, offering a playful view of skin and transforming the dress' style. This look will keep you cool beneath the layers of your cap and gown, and it will go flawlessly with whatever shoes you pick out. A summer sky look wouldn't be complete without a bit of white or gold to compliment it, so bring on the accessories, and make sure to take plenty of photos.  

Showing shoulders

Off-the-shoulder never gets old, combining sexy and sophistication effortlessly. Whether it's an off-the-shoulder dress, top and skirt, or shirt and pants, this look never fails to turn heads. Show off an expanse of glowing Springtime skin, or leave yourself plenty of room for necklaces and earrings to get noticed. No matter how you style it, showing your shoulders is the perfect look for your upcoming graduation. To really elevate this look, try a full-length bottom. This will add a touch of elegance to your outfit and draw more attention to the bare-shoulder look. 

Two-piece set

For another look that can be dressed up or down, try a matching two-piece outfit. Not only will this help you keep cool during your ceremony, but it's almost too cute to wear. Show off a little skin with a crop, or keep covered with a longer matching blouse. Skirts aren't the only way to style the two-piece bottom half, either; matching pants are equally cute and just as dressy. Now, if you can find the shoes to match, we'll be really impressed, but if all else fails, a complimentary color for the shoe always looks great. To top it all off, find cute matching accessories to add, and then rock this look for your graduation and after-party. 

Keep it casual

Denim is inarguably evergreen, so if you decide you want to rock some jeans on your graduation day, you certainly won't be out of style. You can style the ever-popular boyfriend jeans for any occasion, or cling on to the skinny jeans trend while it's still here. Style it up with some heels and a blouse or keep it casual with a nice top and some killer sneakers. With how much will already be going on during graduation, having the added stress of navigating in complicated dress-up clothes put out of your mind is definitely not a bad idea. 

Fashion forward

It's your graduation and your day to show yourself off. Feel like having a fashion-forward moment? Take this opportunity and style a cutting-edge outfit that will leave your friends and family teeming to get their picture with you. While you may not be able to go the large handbag route, feel free to glam it up with chunky jewelry and sunglasses and throw in a fashionable heel to match. Strut across the stage like it's your runway on your way to get your diploma; all eyes are on you, after all. 

Animal print

Animal print is the perfect medium between professional and fun, so style it to your exact vibe and head to your graduation with confidence. A pink sweater to match the undertones in cheetah print, or even a black blouse to keep your look a little more monochromatic, and you're ready to go. Styling this look up or down will be up to your shoes and accessories; typically animal print goes great with gold, but silver isn't a poor choice, either. Try to avoid pairing animal prints with other patterns, like stripes, but otherwise, let your creativity go wild. 

Made to match

Don't have a go-to style in mind for your graduation? Try to match it with your regalia. A simple black dress will usually match your outer robes and cap, though not always. Want the dress to match your tie-in colors? Go for a simple black heel. Finding ways to add additional regalia colors to your outfit can be as simple as a shoe, scarf, hair accessory, or jewelry. With a matching pallet like this, you'll look extra put together and confident. Really want to match? Add your school colors to your makeup, too, or take it a step further with a matching mani and pedi. 

Bodycon is back

Out of the types of dresses everyone should own, the bodycon dress is definitely the one that seems to be having the biggest moment right now. Not to mention that lavender color — too cute! The extra emphasis on the bodice is a great way to add a bit of flare to the bodycon dress, but the real advantage of the simplicity of a bodycon dress is how easy it is to pair it with other things. From sneakers to high heels, just-woke-up-hair to pins and pearls, you can style a bodycon in just about any way depending on your mood. Make this look your own with an application of accessories, or keep it simple to create a backdrop for your graduation attire. 

Who needs a dress?

Just because this is a semi-formal event doesn't mean that you need to go in a dress or even a skirt. You can rock a pant at just about any formal event, but it goes doubly for your graduation when your legs are about the only part of your outfit that will show from under your robes. Keep your style fresh and fun with a unique pair of pants and match the rest of your outfit around them. For a wide-leg pant, make sure you've got some elevating shoes on so that if you're graduating on a lawn, you're not dragging your hem through the dirt and grass. 

Pretty in pink

Pink nails, pink dress, pink lips, and you're ready to go! Pink is an incredibly versatile color that looks good on any complexion and compliments itself with a ton of different shades. From blush to magenta, pink is the perfect color to rock this Spring as you head into graduation. Pink looks great in short and long styles, so you can really choose exactly what you want with this color. Pairing your makeup look with red and pink fashions is easy and cute, and pink looks great with both silver and gold jewelry, so you have lots of room to make this look your own. 

Long and shimmering

Want to cover a little more skin? It's a great way to keep the heat off if the sun is shining, and it's an elegant look to boot. Mixing some shimmer to a more covering look makes it more fun and flashy, so feel free to add as much sparkle as you please. This is another look that everyone will get a sneak-peak of even when you're wearing your graduation gown, and it's a statement without any accessories. Just the one piece, and you're ready to go. 

All out glam

If you want to bring out the formal attire, now's your chance. Go for the all-out glam look with a dinner gown and wow everyone as you walk the stage to get your diploma. A look like this will really catch the light, as well as the eyes of everyone in the room. Might as well get your money's worth from that graduation photographer, right? Show off your sense of style just as much as you're showing off the tremendous accomplishment you've achieved by graduating. You've got this, beautiful!