Depending on where you live, and if your graduation ceremony will be inside or outside, you have a big decision to make as to what you’ll be wearing underneath that gown. Just like with Scotsmen and their kilts,new-general-2013-grants-for-college_210x175 there has always been great speculation as to what college grads wear under their pomp and circumstance outerwear. Some schools go as far as to inform their graduates that they must wear something under their gowns, as if to imply that not wearing anything has been tried before. Call me psychic, but I’m guessing that the dean handing out the diplomas would prefer to not be accidentally (or otherwise) flashed.

So to help you with this very perplexing dilemma, here are four “ensembles” you can wear under your gown during your college graduation. (None are guaranteed to be college administration-sanctioned, however all are certain to keep you covered.)

  • Business Wear

This is what just about every college handbook will tell you to wear to graduation; dress shirt, tie, and slacks for men, white shirt and dark pencil skirt for women. Who makes up these rules? Regardless of the climate, if you have to sit under a polyester sheath all day waiting for your name to be called you want to be comfortable. And since no one sees what you’re wearing under your gown, you can wear just about anything. Remember, you can always put on the fancy duds after the ceremony is over. So if you insist on wearing business clothes, I have just two words for you: elastic waistband and breathable cotton. Okay, that’s four words (five, if you count the “and”), but you get my drift.

  • Sweats

Since we all agree that no one can see what you’re wearing under your graduation gown, then why bother with the business attire at all? True, the neckline of your shirt does peek out over the top of your gown, so you may want to wear something other than your Metallica T-shirt. But down below, who cares? Which is why I say nothing goes best with a shirt and tie under a graduation gown than a nice comfy pair of black or charcoal gray sweats. Just don’t get the kinds that have elastic at the ankles. That look tends to clash with wingtip shoes and women’s pumps.

  • Tie-dye

This may seem like an odd choice, but stay with me here. The polyester used to make the gowns isn’t exactly the highest quality of fabric. Plus, it’s not very breathable, so if you wear it for a long time, it can cause you to perspire more than you normally would. In some cases, body sweat has caused the color to rub off the graduation gown onto whatever garment you’re wearing underneath. If this happens to be a white shirt, you’re screwed. But if you’re wearing a tie-dyed shirt, well, then any color that gets on the shirt will hardly be noticeable. In fact, it might even improve the shirt. As for the pants, see #2 above – Sweats.

  • Long Underwear or Your High School PE Shorts

You want to dress appropriately for the weather, so if you live in a cold climate and there is a chance of cool temperatures even in late May or June, then be checking out the long underwear sales now. Silk long underwear is the best; it’s soft, lightweight, and formfitting, so you can even wear it under that tight dress your mom hates.

If you live in Hawaii, Florida, San Diego, or anywhere on the Gulf Coast, then you’re going to sweat like a pig tap dancing on the sun during graduation. So dig out the baggiest shorts you own (high school gym shorts are the best) and put those on underneath your gown. A Tommy Bahama shirt would be a nice addition, if you can get away with it. As for footwear- strappy sandals for the ladies, and Patagonia men’s dress sandals for the gentlemen. (I’m assuming since you live in a warm climate everyone will just be happy that you’re not barefoot.) And whatever you do, guys, don’t wear black socks and dress shoes. Remember, we can see your bare legs poking out of the bottom of your gown.

Graduation will most likely last all day. The key to enjoying it is to be comfortable. So pay attention to the clothes and shoes you wear on your big day. And after it’s all over rest assured you won’t have to wear that silly gown again any time soon. (Which is why it’s good to go with recyclable graduation gowns in the first place!)

Now that you have graduated go get an online graduate degree!

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