Fashion: Make it a Graduation Day for style

Inflatable graduation hat, �6.50, at Monroe-clothing.com.
Inflatable graduation hat, �6.50, at Monroe-clothing.com.
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As graduation ceremonies take place this month across the UK, new graduate Katie Elsworth passes on tips for passing out in style.

After years of hard work, deadlines and stress, the summer marks freedom for those graduating from university with their long-awaited degrees.

Lace bow back dress, �49, at Very.

Lace bow back dress, �49, at Very.

The ceremony itself celebrates a momentous transition from student to a professional adult, taking a step into the world, degree in hand. It’s significant that underneath your graduation gown you showcase the person you’ve become.

Find the perfect balance between playful and professional by opting for a length between knee-length and midi – anything longer is risky due to the drowning nature of the grad gown. The classic choice is a lady-like type style dress, so think Fifties, think flowing cuts and think pastel feminine colours. This choice is tried-and-tested, and helps accentuate a fun flash of colour and shape as to what lies beneath the dark gown. Lighter colours are going to work better – anything dark will wash-out, but check the rules.

For those wanting to move away from the traditional choice, opt for a modern co-ordinating set. The High Street has a fantastic choice of matching tops and bottoms creating the illusion of a dress. By splitting an outfit at the waist you create a shape that is is a complete contrast to the all-enveloping nature of the ceremonial gown. Why not go for a bright colour if you make this choice? It also works effortlessly for transitioning to night-time celebrations. Check with your university as to its dress codes as some do stipulate dark suits and dresses.

Perhaps the most important key item of the graduation ceremony outfit is the footwear: the only part of the outfit that is untouched by traditional attire, so make bold choices. Metallic will add a shine to the outfit, while sparkles are a much loved accompaniment to celebrations, so match the champagne by adding shine to your footwear.

Biba fringed dress, was �99, now �29.50, at House of Fraser.

Biba fringed dress, was �99, now �29.50, at House of Fraser.

If you’re no stranger to heels and can withstand the demands of a high heel, then this choice will elongate your limbs from underneath the robes, although have a consideration for the wooden floors of many hallowed halls of graduation and avoid stilettos . If you’re less confident with heels, avoid tripping disasters with a block heel. These are popular this season and you will find comfort with the little lift they provide – find a metallic sandal option to suit the season.

And as for male graduates, if you can, avoid being drowned out by dark tones, and opt for a lighter grey or blue suit, the more seasonal choice also.

However, do check your university’s graduation dress code, as many do suggest dark suiting. If that is the case, now might be a sensible time to invest in a navy linen suit, which is definitely the cool option for the height of summer. Both jacket and trousers work perfectly as separates as well as together as a suit, so you’ll get lots of wear from it. Just remember to dry clean both items at the same time to keep the colour the same.

With more tailored suits, the slimmer the fit, the more shape you’ll create for yourself underneath the gown. Even with a dark suit, you can find expression in your choice of ties and accessories. A crisp white shirt appears professional and cool, and it works well to break up the layers of material. For a swift transition to night-time wear, ditch the tie and jacket to opt for a smart but effortless celebration look which shows as casual but groomed.

Suit jacket, �69, shirt, �22, trousers, �30, at Burton Menswear.

Suit jacket, �69, shirt, �22, trousers, �30, at Burton Menswear.

Most items are in sale at the moment, so it’s a good time to buy, although supply in all sizes can be limited.

Whatever you choose, remember, the pictures taken at your graduation will be on the walls of family homes for a life-time, so make outfit choices you know you won’t regret in a hurry.

Champagne Oudinot Vintage, �30, from Marks and Spencer.

Champagne Oudinot Vintage, �30, from Marks and Spencer.

Marella dress, now half price at �115; mustard small crossbody bag, �69, Dickins & Jones. Both at House of Fraser.

Marella dress, now half price at �115; mustard small crossbody bag, �69, Dickins & Jones. Both at House of Fraser.

Mint lace overlay shell top, �17, mint lace pencil skirt, �20, at Miss Selfridge.

Mint lace overlay shell top, �17, mint lace pencil skirt, �20, at Miss Selfridge.

Chloe, left, and Clementine, middle with milliner Jenny Roberts.

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