Seniors talk graduation outfits, letting their individuality shine


Clare Sheedy | Assistant Visual Editor

Pitt graduates after their 2021 graduation at Heinz Field.

By Punya Bhasin, Contributing Editor

For Emily Dennis, a senior environmental studies major, the preparation for her graduation outfit started all the way back in 2018 with a pin.

“I got a pin during my freshman orientation back in 2018, and it had the Pitt seal on it and the navy blue and gold colors,” Dennis said. “Somehow through these four years I have kept it in my posession, and so I plan to wear it for my graduation as a reminder of where I started.”
With graduation scheduled for May 1, this is a time of both excitement and celebration for graduating seniors. Since parents and friends will take lots of pictures for graduation, many seniors are busy planning their outfits for the occasion and want to share their fashion tips to other students.

Dennis said even though she originally wanted her graduation outfit to be fun and colorful, she decided to keep it simple. She’s going to wear a white dress with lace under her gown so she matches with her friends who have opted for a neutral palette that they think will look nice in pictures.

Dennis said she also hopes to see graduation outfits that express students’ college journey and individuality.

“I think it’s cool when you can look at someone’s outfit and see their style and personality, and I think while graduation is a formal event, there is definitely room for uniqueness and creativity for your outfits,” Dennis said.

For men’s outfits, Urjeet Deshmukh, a senior computer science major, said he’s wearing formal attire, with a button up shirt, a blue tie and black trousers. While Deshmukh has not chosen his shoes just yet, he plans to wear either dress shoes or Jordans for more style.

“I wouldn’t say there’s a real rhyme or reason in terms of the clothing I have chosen to wear, but I do want to focus on the shoes because I think that is where style and fashion for guys can really show, especially for formal wear,” Deshmukh said. “I really want to wear Jordans or other nice shoes because I want to be comfortable and fashionable for graduation.”

Deshmukh said while he won’t be completely in Pitt colors — blue and yellow — he has chosen to wear a blue tie to show some school spirit.

“I think doing all Pitt colors is kind of hard because blue and yellow is a bit difficult to create an outfit, but I did want to wear some of Pitt’s colors, so I am going to wear a Pitt tie to go with the color scheme for graduation,” Deshmukh said.

Saoirse Hopp, a sophomore supply chain management and next year’s president of Fashion Business Association, said when it comes to fashion, feeling comfortable is the best choice.

“I honestly think you can wear what you want because it is going to be a meaningful experience anyways, so you should feel good about what you wear and feel comfortable about your outfit,” Hopp said.

A graduation outfit planned for Pitt’s 2022 graduation. (Image courtesy of Emily Dennis )

Hopp said neutral tones are a safe option if you don’t know what to wear.

“I think if you really don’t know what will look good, neutral colors, especially white, is the best choice because it goes with everything,” Hopp said.

Dennis said she wants to be creative with her cap and gown as well for graduation.

“Because I’m keeping my outfit pretty simple, I wanted to be more creative with the cap and gown, so I want to decorate my cap with a Pitt theme and the blue and yellow colors,” Dennis said. “I don’t know the exact design yet, but I want to make sure I have some school colors for my graduation pictures.”

Deshmukh said there are some dos and don’ts when it comes to planning out graduation outfits, including comfort and formality.

“Graduation is really long, so you don’t want to be uncomfortable, because you are going to be moving and taking pictures all day … you want to make sure that your outfit is something you can feel good in all day,” Deshmukh said. “I also think you should make sure your outfit is formal because it is a formal ceremony and you want to be dressed appropriately for it.”

Dennis said it’s also important to remember that family and friends will be there with you, and pictures of your outfit may also be posted or sent to your relatives, so the outfits should be “respectful.”

“I don’t think there are too many things you shouldn’t do in terms of what you wear,” Dennis said. “I think the main thing I considered and would be a good thing to keep in mind is that your graduation outfit is going to be photographed and sent to your relatives, so make sure the outfit is respectful and isn’t too revealing.”
Dennis said the most important thing to consider when planning graduation outfits is how you feel wearing it.

“At the end of the day I don’t think it really matters what you wear for graduation,” Dennis said. “You should just feel comfortable and confident in your outfit, because it is your big day and you know everyone has really worked hard to get to graduation, and so you should feel good about it.”