How to Find the Perfect Graduation Dress

How to find the perfect graduation dress -

{ Photography by Melanie Foster }

Graduation is one of the most memorable times of your life and for such a big moment, we understand how important it is for you to find the perfect graduation dress. If you haven’t yet found THE dress, you’re in luck! We are so excited to have Taylor of A Pearl Kind of Girl share with you her tips and tricks to finding the memorable dress that you deserve. Between Taylor’s amazing tips and a few of our favorite choices, you’re going to look absolutely fabulous on graduation day! And don’t forget…if you have a specific style question, don’t hesistate to email us at!

 I want to wear a memorable graduation dress, but don’t want to break the bank. Where should I start looking?

I usually start my search at department stores with a large sale section (such as Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, and Dillards) or stores that offer a student discount (such as Kate Spade and J.Crew). Another great way to save money for a special event, is to rent a dress for the weekend at a fraction of the price. Rent the Runway is a great place to rent memorable dresses and they are very reliable. 

How would you define a memorable dress? 

A memorable dress is one that other people can still describe after you leave the room. Don’t forget that a dress can be memorable in a bad way and that is worse than an unmemorable dress. 

What kind of shoes should I wear with my day dress? I want to be comfortable since I don’t want my feet to already be in pain by the time that I have to walk across the stage!

Depending on the shape of your dress, wedges or a chunky heel are great options for comfort. I have found that shoes with a platform under the ball of the foot are more comfortable for long periods of standing. 

Do I need to worry about the color of my dress clashing with my cap and gown? How do I avoid this?

Luckily I have a black cap and gown, so I could really wear any color I wanted. If your cap and gown are bright colors, I would recommend sticking to a neutral color dress that will be less overwhelming in pictures. 

I am dead set on wearing a white dress to graduation, but I feel like it’s always so hard to find white clothing that looks good on! What tips do you have for finding and trying on white dresses?

When looking for a white dress, I try to stay away from thin or clingy material. No one wants to see the color of your undergarments or every curve of your hips. I like to try on dresses in two different sizes, because sometimes a size smaller or larger can hang better on your body. When I try on white I like to see it in different lighting to make sure it is not too thin.

What graduation fashion faux pas we need to keep in mind?

Do not wear a dress that is really long compared to your gown, it will look weird if your dress is sticking out of the bottom of the gown. Also, do not wear flat shoes for the sole purpose of avoiding the dreaded trip, if your dress looks better with heels give wedges a try.

What colors photograph best? 

Dark colors such as black, navy or purple are always slimming in photographs. Keep in mind your skin tone when picking a colorful dress, if you have a lighter skin tone avoid colors that will wash you out (white, light pink, yellow) and if you have a darker skin tone avoid colors that will make you glow (hot pink, orange). 

Is it better to go with a statement dress or a timeless dress? Why?

For events like graduation I like to stick with a timeless dress and stay away from trends. Trends tend to only last a maximum of five years and you do not want to be questioning your dress choice in five years. 

Shop these SF approved graduation dresses!

Written by

Editor-in-Chief & Creative Director
Monica started out at Sorority Fashion as an intern back in 2010. Yep, she’s the girl behind those How-To and Back-to-School series on our YouTube channel. After interning for Sorority Fashion and graduating, Monica followed her dream of working in fashion and worked as an Assistant Buyer for Neiman Marcus before coming back to Sorority Fashion. Monica graduated from Texas Christian University with a degree in Advertising/Public Relations and is a proud member of Pi Beta Phi. She has a love for fashion and passion for traveling, which she shares on her personal blog at