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The Guy's Guide to What to Wear Under Your Graduation Robe

The Guy's Guide to What to Wear Under Your Graduation Robe

The school year is drawing to a close, and if you’re a senior, the number of things you have left to care about are dwindling rapidly. By now, you probably already have a pretty good idea what you’re going to be doing next year. Prom’s come and gone. All of you’ve got left are finals, and then it’s time for graduation!

Graduation is a wonderful ceremony, unchanged for millennia. It represents the end of one phase of your life and the start of the next, and it does so in the best way possible: by having you walk in a line, listen to the most inspirational of boring speeches, and then wait for your name to be called in alphabetical order. But you get to wear such fetching robes! That is, if by “fetching” you mean “a shapeless sack,” and if that’s what you think “fetching” means, I’m going to suggest studying just a little bit more for that English final.

But what should you wear under your graduation robe? Well, you’ve got a couple of options here. Let’s weigh us some pros and cons!

The Traditional Shirt & Tie

PRO: Simple and elegant, this is probably what your school administration suggested you wear beneath your robe. It signifies the specialness of the occasion without being too crazy about it, and everyone looks good in a shirt and tie. It takes a special effort to look bad in a tie. You’ve really got to be trying hard to mess it up.

CON: Boooooooring. This is how you’re going to celebrate graduation, by doing exactly as you’re told? You’re already wearing the exact same robe as everyone else, is that not enough conformity for you? You know what else a shirt and tie symbolizes? Going to work, doing the same thing day in and day out, growing older and older until you finally die and they bury you, and do you know what you’re wearing when they bury you? That’s right, a tie.


PRO: This is supposed to be a special occasion, isn’t it? You’re only graduating (from this school, anyway) once, ever, in your entire life, so you might as well go all-out and get super fancy. Remember what we said about everyone looking good in a tie? That’s goes double for a tux. You can turn your graduation into your own personal Academy Awards—it’s the same concept, really, just without Billy Crystal or any question of the outcome. James Bond wore a tux underneath a wetsuit, a graduation robe is much easier.

CON:  You’re not James Bond. That’s not a con specific to wearing a tux under your graduation robe, that’s more of a general con against life, but still. The biggest problem with wearing a tuxedo underneath your robe is that it’s underneath your robe—no one will be able to tell how thoroughly you’re classing it up under there. And if no one can tell, then what’s the point? It’s not exactly a cheap rental, you know.


PRO: These things are comfortable as all get-out. They’re light, they breathe easy, and they can wick the sweat away from your body. While everyone else is sweating their butts off in their ties, you’re feeling the breeze.

CON: You run the risk of being confused for a gangster and taken out by the Russians as they make a play to expand their turf. This would ruin the day for pretty much everyone, and would be highly inconsiderate of you.

Suit of Armor

PRO: There’s tuxedo-fancy, and then there’s full-suit-of-armor-fancy. No one else will be wearing one of these, that’s for sure, especially since most traditional plate armor has to be custom-made for a specific wearer. On top of all that, you’ll have added protection in case of attack by marauding Visigoths, which is always a bonus!

CON: Armor’s loud and clanky. Clank-clank-clank, that’s you walking up to receive your diploma, with everybody covering their ears. Armor’s a pain to get into and out of, so if you don’t have a squire or two to help you, you’re in trouble. And it gets hot—we’re talking about late spring/early summer here, so you’re going to get mighty sweaty underneath all that steel. On top of all that, stairs will be more of a challenge than usual, so if your school’s graduation ceremony requires you to climb up onto a stage or risers—and a lot of them do—you may just end up embarrassing yourself.

Space Suit

PRO: If your graduation’s happening in the cold vacuum of space, this’ll be good.

CON: It probably isn’t. Also, see all the cons of wearing armor.

Green Man

PRO: A popular figure at sporting events everywhere, it’s always a party when a dude in a green spandex bodysuit’s around! The Green Man suit guarantees you’ll be the center of attention, even as no one knows exactly who you are. If you’re thinking about pulling some graduation pranks, the Green Man suit’s probably the best thing to wear. And green’s a versatile color, complementing most graduation robes.

CON: Impossible to eat, drink, or go to the bathroom while wearing this thing. You also run the risk of being replaced with a CGI Gollum in all your graduation videos.

Nothing At All

PRO: This may very well be the best of all worlds. Like with the tracksuit, you’ll stay cool and sweat-free. This is also the quickest and easiest to put on, as it requires you to do quite literally nothing. Like the tuxedo, it’s a classic look, although in this case we mean that in the same sense that Ancient Rome is considered the Classical Era. Like the Green Man, it announces that you’re here to party. It makes it much easier to moon the faculty, administration, families and fellow graduates, and mooning always has been and always will be funny. On top of all that, you’re young and in the physical prime of your life—this could be the best this particular outfit’s going to look, before the inexorable ravages of time start taking their toll.

CON: Don’t. Just don’t. No one wants to see that. Put it away.

Got any other ideas for what to wear under your robe?

Topics: Life, Fashion
Tags: graduation, school, what to wear, graduation robes, guy's fashion

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