High school graduation chic: Tips for keeping it classy (and comfortable), Cincinnati

CINCINNATI - High school graduation season is here. More than ever, schools are cracking down on what seniors are required to wear for the commencement ceremony.

Dawn Stoll, principal secretary at Oak Hills High School, shared with me the importance of the attire of graduating seniors--all 686 of them.

“Graduation is a formal occasion that we take very seriously. The girls are to wear red gowns and the gentlemen wear black," Stoll said. "We use the services of Herff Jones, a company that provides everything from class rings & yearbooks to graduation caps & gowns”.

Stoll said what’s under the gown is just as important. Tennis shoes and any sort of sandal that doesn’t look dressy are prohibited. The boys are to wear dark shoes and pants. The girls are expected to wear dresses underneath their gowns.

She emphasized that Oak Hills frowns on the emerging trend for students to “decorate” their graduation caps.

Mary Daley, office manager and board member at Newport Central Catholic, was happy to share what their students are required to wear:

“We requested the girls wear a white dress, preferably knee-length, with dress sandals. The boys are to wear dark pants, dress shoes and a tie.”

Here are several considerations I’d suggest regarding fashion for commencement day; no matter what your schools requirements are:

1. For the girls. If it’s possible, find a dress with pockets. They’re actually more common than you’d think and practical for keeping your phone and other small items. Leave your purse with a family member so you don’t have to carry it with you while walking across stage.

2. Dress to impress and keep it classy. Realize how many photos will most likely be snapped. This a day when you’ll want to be at your best and not attempt a new look you found on Pinterest the night before. Stick with makeup and hair style that work the best on you. Girls: consider experimenting with hairstyles that look nice under your cap the week leading up to commencement. Guys: Wear your best-fitting dress slacks with a subtle matching tie.

3. Girls should plan on what type of dress they’ll wear under the robe. I hear a lot of people say it doesn’t matter because it won’t show. I disagree. Wearing a sleek dress helps eliminate any additional “bulk” under an already less-than-perfectly fitting gown. Imagine how it would look if you were to wear a really full skirt under an already frumpy gown.

4. Regarding shoes, there are a few things to keep in mind: Make sure they’re comfortable and that you’re able to walk in them. No one wants to be remembered as that graduate who trips on stage. Heels should be no higher than two inches for this reason. Wedges can be a safe bet, because they’re more sturdy than their stiletto counterparts, are age appropriate and chic. Guys: Make sure shoes are shined with minimal wear. Remember, this is the only part of your outfit people will see during the ceremony. Give a good impression!


Follow WCPO contributor Megan Fenno on Twitter @FENNOFashion  and check out her website, FENNOFashion.com . Look for her column each week.

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