Woohoo! Uni is finally over and your graduation day is looming, but even people who have been to one don’t seem to have any details about what actually happens. Luckily, we do!


You’re not going to find instruction for measuring your head here, but we will give you an idea of what graduation day might hold; the good, the bad, the ugly and the fabulous.


We’ll tell you how to get through the ceremony, which prep you can do in advance for a stress-free day and what to think about when buying your graduation heels and dresses – there’s so many to choose from, you’ll need some criteria to cut the list down, trust us!


Keep reading for our ultimate graduation day guide – we hope you have a fabulous time! After all, you’ve earned it.



Finding the perfect university graduation dress

Unless you have quite a while to try on, chop and change your outfits beforehand, we wouldn’t recommend branching out into a new style or colour for the big day.


If you are pressed for time, opt for cuts and shades that you’re sure will suit you and especially those that always make you feel confident!


When it comes to regulations, most universities are quite lenient (though it’s worth checking), and as long as you are in formalwear, you’re good to go.


For ladies though, we’d suggest a dress that isn’t too tight – as you’ll have to walk in it – and one that is long enough so you don’t feel the need to constantly pull it down. Knee-length is perfect, as the dress won’t come below your gown either, which can look messy.


Also, the coloured hoods that come with graduation gowns were originally designed to be worn with a shirt. We’d recommend avoiding dresses with plunging necklines as you’ll need to pin the hood on somewhere that looks smart and feels comfortable.


Bring a couple of pins too!




Sourcing your fantasy graduation shoes

When it comes to choosing your graduation shoes, our tried-and-tested advice is the same as our tips for buying any special occasion footwear!


Make sure they’re comfortable and you can wear them for an entire day, but also that you can walk in them easily as you’ll need to for the ceremony (read our DOs and DON’Ts below).


Importantly, make sure you LOVE them! You could always bring a pair of flats to wear for the bulk of the day once your ceremony is over.



The absolute DOs

1. Rent your cap and gown ahead of time. NO excuses. Plenty of us here at Jane made the mistake of thinking “oh, I’ll just pick one up on the day”.


Sadly it didn’t turn out so simply and we ended up in outsize caps, gowns that drowned us and our dress choices looked bizarre underneath them.


Not to mention the extra-huge queues you hang about in while you’re boiling hot and you’re supposed to be drinking champagne while laughing wisely and attractively in the sun!



2. Prepare yourself for a bit of a wait during your ceremony. There’s a couple of speeches about everyone’s achievements over the last few years, including some people who you didn’t expect to be there, that you probably don’t know at all!


It’s likely that lots of other degree classes will have their ceremony on the same day and possibly a few ‘proper’ adults will be getting honorary doctorates et cetera.


3. More importantly, prepare yourself for the crazy outfits. While your gown is sure to be mostly black, with a relatively plain hood and so on, the people performing the ceremony are likely to be wearing an array of fur, bright colours and strange hats (yes, stranger than the one you have to wear).


This is a traditional dress that signifies their level of education and also makes the event feel really special. It’s like being at Hogwarts for a while, in a GREAT way!



4. Make sure you’re ready for a bit of a walk across a stage in front of people. We’re not saying this to scare you, because once it’s over you’ll realise it was super easy. But just because we didn’t know it happened!


It’s around 20 steps (remember to practice walking in those shoes!), before you shake the Chancellors hand and walk off the other side of the stage.


The absolute DON’T

1. Be late. If you’re anything like some of the girls at Jane, you’ll only be late when you’re headed to a really important event.


For graduation day, we’d suggest making that extra effort and putting your mascara on in the car if necessary. It’s summer, so the weather will hopefully be AMAZING for you, but you don’t want to be running around all hot and bothered.


Take your time, relax and leave yourself plenty of time for chatting with your friends and family beforehand!



You’ll find all of our gorgeous occasion dresses, shoes and accessories on the Jane Norman website today – happy shopping!


Do you have more questions? We’re happy to answer any and all of your wonderings about graduation day over on our SHARE