Graduation Day Attire & Stoles: The Best Way to Know Them

Graduation Cap and Gown tassle

Graduation day is fast approaching, so it’s time to choose your graduation wardrobe. Although your school or institution may supply you with the majority of the apparel and resources for your graduation day, there are other items of attire for graduation that you must consider. For example, if you’re unsure of how to wear graduation tassels and stoles, I will make sure you’re prepared for what is not just an important day in your academic career but also your life.

In any case, all of your loved ones will be there shooting photos. So you might as well dress appropriately for the situation!

What is a Graduation Day Apparel?

Simply put, graduates must dress in regalia or costume on graduation day. Naturally, everyone will be looking at the graduating class. Teachers, professors, and anybody participating in the graduation ceremony must, nevertheless, dress according to the standards established by the institution.

The traditional graduation tassels and stoles are something that most people are familiar with. But what exactly is graduation apparel made out of? I’ll simplify the list of these things for you.

Generally speaking, the key elements of graduation clothing are:

  • Gown (with cap)
  • Stoles
  • Cords
  • Tassel

What are a Graduation Cap and Gown?

The traditional graduation costume includes a cap and gown from pre-school to graduate school.

At a graduation ceremony, students wear long flowing robes called graduation caps and gowns over their regular formal dress. A matched polyester fabric, either glossy or matte, is used to make both the gown and the cap. Sleeves on a gown hang low and broad. Stretch bands tucked beneath the fabric of the caps keep them on the heads of the students.

However, most students would undoubtedly agree that dressing for graduation day adds to the specialness of the occasion.

What is a Stole?

It would be best if you mentioned graduation tassels and stoles when discussing appropriate dress. By selecting from a variety of graduation stole styles, a stole—a piece of fabric worn over the shoulders—can help you stand out from the crowd of other graduates.

Different colors are available for the stole, some of which may or may not correspond to your academic program. Others may purchase a stole bearing the Greek letters of the fraternity or sorority they belong to.

Some people choose to buy a stole, shiny graduation cap, and gown that honors their ethnic heritage. Others can receive a sash or a stole in recognition of a family member who significantly contributed to the student’s life.

There are so many different stoles available nowadays. And while some institutions might have rules about stoles, many let you pick what you want and tailor a stole to your tastes!

What is a Graduation Cord?

A graduation cord resembles a rope draped across the shoulders like a stole. Contrary to stoles, cords are typically worn to signify academic achievement, membership in a significant society or other educational organization, or the receipt of an award. The fact that you can wear a stole and a cord together is a plus. Even though some graduates would, it is impossible to wear more than one stole.

What Distinctions Exist Between a Cord and a Stole?

Graduation Cord and Stole

The appearance of a stole and a cord is their primary visual distinction. Satin is usually the most popular material used to make stoles. However, people who purchase a stole to represent their cultural history could choose to have it created out of a different material, such as serape or kente cloth.

Once more, you can alter a stole to your satisfaction by selecting the fabric, the color, or the symbols you wish to appear on it. In contrast, cords are thick ropes in various colors; some may have two types or be worn as two distinct cords of two colors intended to complement.

The second distinction is in what they stand for. Cords are often worn to recognize academic excellence, although stoles may show support for a club, a particular culture, or Greek life. The top of your stole can be decorated with cords of various colors.

The final distinction is in how they are worn. Some students may wear several cords instead of a stole, although both are worn across the back of the neck from the shoulders. Some pupils might not wear cords at all, only a stole. Some pupils might put on both.

Other Graduation Accessories

Many institutions don’t mind if their students have fun with their graduation day dress so that various items can be a part of their outfits on graduation day. Some students will add decorations to their caps, such as belts, jewels, fabric paint, etc. However, you must first confirm if your school is in favor of this.

Additionally, you’ll have your graduation tassels and stoles. Your headgear has a tassel that hangs off a side.


Purchase your shiny graduation cap and gown in advance. You’ll need to get your gown sized. You should be able to say if it’s too long or too short because it should fall between your knee and your ankle. When it does, try it on to be certain it fits in case you need to make any adjustments before D-day.