Here are a few tips to help you dress the part for graduation day, including how the hood is supposed to look.

How can such a simple outfit be so complicated? It doesn’t have to be. Here are a few tips to help you look your best as you walk across the stage in your cap and gown:

1. Adjust the gown so that it sits comfortably on your shoulders.

It should fall below your knee, but not so low that it is a tripping hazard.

2. Put the hood on over your head with the velvet side up and the small tapered end in front.*

Drape your hood around your neck with the largest portion of the hood hanging down your back. (*Doctoral students don’t have to worry about steps 2 through 4. Read the sidebar to find out why.)

3. Secure the hood so it doesn’t slip off.

Use the cord on the front to secure the hood to a shirt button or use a safety pin to attach it to a blouse or dress. This will also give you a little breathing room so the hood isn’t tight against your neck. Fasten all hooks, buttons, and zippers securely.

Student attaching Graduation hood

4. Let your colors show.

Turn the Penn colors outward to show the red and the blue, and roll the velvet edge out as well so that the inside colors show. When you’re done, the end of the hood will look somewhat like a fin. If you are an MBA student, ask someone to give you a hand with the cord and button in the back to keep your hood together.

Graduation Hood

5. Place the cap on your head so that point is lined up with the middle of your forehead.

From above, it will look like a diamond shape.(The inside of the cap tells you which end is the front.) Adjust the mortarboard so that it’s parallel to the ground — don’t wear it to the side or to the back. You may need to use some bobby pins or clips to keep it securely on your head.

Graduation Cap

6. Fasten your tassel to the button on the top of the mortarboard.

Put the tassel on the right side and don’t turn it until your degree has been conferred.

Graduation Cap

Congrats on finishing your Wharton career in style.

— Colleen Donnelly

Posted: April 2, 2018

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