Understanding the proper etiquette for wearing a graduation gown ensures you look your best while honouring the significance of this important milestone. If you're graduating in Ireland this year, we're here to help you learn the nuances of graduation gown etiquette, from outfit selection to mastering the ceremonial protocols. So, whether you're about to step across the stage or just planning ahead, our tips will make sure you have a stylish and stress-free graduation day.

How to Dress for Graduation in Ireland

Dressing appropriately for your graduation in Ireland involves more than just donning your graduation gown and hood. Here’s how to look polished and poised for this noteworthy occasion:

  • Underneath the gown - While some people might choose to dress in daring outfits with bold colours on their graduation day, many choose attire that complements the formality of their gown. For men, this typically means a dress shirt with a tie and dress pants. And for women, a smart business-appropriate dress or a blouse and skirt/pants combination works well. Remember, the collar should sit neatly above the graduation gown and any ties or neck accessories should complement the colours of your hood and gown.
  • Footwear - Wear formal shoes that are comfortable enough to walk in during the ceremony. Men might choose oxfords or dress shoes, while women might prefer low to mid-high heels or smart flats. Make sure your shoes are clean and polished, as they will be noticeable when you walk across the stage. Avoid trainers or skyscraper heels to keep your look respectful and consistent with the event.
  • Accessories - Keep accessories to a minimum. A watch or a simple bracelet can be acceptable but avoid large, flashy jewellery that might detract from the dignified style of the occasion.
  • Hair and makeup - For those wearing a cap, make sure your hair is styled in a way that keeps the cap securely and neatly in place. The mortarboard will have a handy elastic inside to grip and avoid slipping, but carrying a few bobby pins adds extra security. If you're wearing makeup, keep it conservative and appropriate for a traditional event. The goal is to enhance your features subtly without overshadowing your academic attire.
  • Final touches - Before you leave for the ceremony, give yourself a final check. Make sure your gown is wrinkle-free, your hood is draped correctly and your cap is sitting squarely on your head with the tassel on the correct side (usually the right before graduation, then moved to the left once you collect your degree scroll).

Irish Graduation Ceremony Etiquette

Graduating in Ireland involves adhering to specific etiquette to ensure the event runs smoothly and respectfully. Here are some graduation etiquette tips students should keep in mind:

  • Arrival time - Arrive at the venue well in advance to allow time for collecting your graduation day gown, finding your designated seat and familiarising yourself with the venue layout. Being punctual shows respect for the ceremony and keeps you relaxed and ready for when proceedings begin.
  • Wearing your graduation gown correctly - Your gown should fit comfortably, hanging loosely over your shoulders and back. Place the hood over your head with the colours showing, draped neatly at the back and secured so it doesn’t slip.
  • Walking the stage - When it’s your turn to walk across the stage, approach confidently and remember the protocol. Wait for your name to be called, then cross the stage to shake hands and receive your scroll (bear in mind that some universities don't provide these symbolic certificates).
  • Photographs - While it's important to capture this memorable day, ensure that personal photography does not interfere with the ceremony. Use a professional graduation photographer and follow any guidelines provided by the institution.
  • Post-ceremony conduct - Once the ceremony is officially over, you're now free to celebrate! But, remember to respect the venue and other graduates by keeping celebrations modest until you are in a more suitable environment.

Graduation Gown Symbolism


The gown itself is a symbol of academic professionalism and achievement. Typically black, the gown's style can vary depending on the type of degree (undergrad, postgrad, PhD), with more advanced degrees often featuring longer sleeves or adornments.


Perhaps the most symbolic piece of the graduation ensemble, the hood is lined with specific colours representing the graduate's field of study. These colours provide visual cues about each student’s academic discipline.


Known officially as the mortarboard, graduation caps represent equality among scholars by their uniform appearance. Traditionally worn flat on the head, the cap symbolises the mortarboard used by masons, alluding to the building of knowledge. The tassel often switched from one side to the other during the ceremony, signifies the transition from undergrad to graduate.

Celebrate in Style

Explore our extensive selection of graduation gowns in Ireland and enter your new chapter feeling confident and comfortable. If you're looking for the perfect graduation gown for hire, we have options that blend tradition with impeccable style. Visit our website to view our high-quality collection and find all the accessories you need to complete your graduation look. Contact Armstrong & Oxford today to prepare yourself for your big day.