Graduation Style

It’s been a wee bit quiet around here because I’ve been a little busy… Last month I graduated, moved out of my flat in St Andrews and down to London to start my new job – it’s all been a bit of a whirlwind. It seems so long ago now (although it was only last month!) ¬†but I really wanted to publish a “Graduation Style” post to share some outfit ideas and pictures of what I actually wore, as well as describe some of the get-ups I spotted on the day. Every university has it’s own guidelines about what to wear for the traditional graduation ceremony, but as far as I know, graduates are mostly required to wear black or white (I’ve seen lots of dresses in pictures). At St Andrews the dress code for girls was white shirt/ blouse/ top and black skirt or trousers with dark shoes, and lounge suit with white bow tie for the boys. Otherwise, both genders could wear national dress – I saw lots of kilts and a few saris and dirndls. I loved observing how my fellow graduands interpreted the dress code. A white top and black base is about as sartorially simple as you can get – it’s like a blank canvas that’s wide open to interpretation. Everyone tailored the dress code to their own personal style – whether boyish or feminine, laid-back or fashion-conscious. I found the dress code a little tricky as when I wear white I look like I’m about to faint. A lot of my fellow graduands felt similarly so many opted for a creamier shade to minimise ghostliness. In terms of style there was everything from crisp, mannish shirts with big collars to ladylike chiffon pussy bow blouses. I even spotted one girl wearing a white vest top! For the bottom half, the majority of girls wore fitted skirts and there was a smattering of tailored trousers too. Several skirts were a little above the knee (leather fringed mini skirt girl, I’m looking at you) and there were a few cold-looking bare legs (it definitely wasn’t no tights weather) but mainly everyone had made a real effort and looked lovely and smart – I really enjoyed the fact that we were all dressed up together. It was certainly different seeing a few of my classmates, normally only ever turned out in jeans and hoodies, in their Sunday best! After numerous hours perusing nearly identical white tops and pondering skirt lengths, I came up with this:

I wanted to look smart but not compromise my usually girly but tailored style, so opted for more feminine pieces. Lots of blouses and shirts I looked at were either too buttoned-up matronly or too mannish; eventually I went for this polka dot detail blouse with bow and covered buttons, which I thought was much more my sort of fun, feminine style.

For the skirt, I didn’t want anything too fitted or short and again I looked for something ladylike but un-frumpy. As long-term blog readers will know, I’m a fan of pleated skirts and thought I’d try this knee-length black sunray pleat skirt as a more “me” ¬†twist on the smart black skirt. I pulled it all together with a vintage belt and some black patent courts (bought very late in the day), topped off with a full head of curls and quite natural, subdued make-up.

I was hoping it would all come together (as we couldn’t try on the academic dress before the day) and to my relief I liked the whole thing when the gown and hood were added to the mix and was very pleased with the result!

I think it’s safe to say that Grad Week was one of the best weeks of my life so far, thanks to everyone who made it so special.


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