Why Do Girls Wear White For Graduation?

Are you curious about why girls wear white for graduation? This tradition has existed for over a century and has become essential to graduation ceremonies worldwide. One of the primary reasons for wearing white during graduation is tradition. In the mid-1800s, many schools required graduates to wear white dresses and carry bouquets, creating a uniform look for the ceremony.

White symbolizes purity, innocence, and a fresh start, which is significant as graduates embark on the next chapter of their lives. The elegant simplicity of a plain white dress complements the formality and importance of graduation day.

When all graduates wear white, it provides a uniform backdrop that simplifies coordinating group photos, stoles, and lining up. White also represents success, achievement, and the hard work of earning the degree.

In this post, I’ll explore these reasons to understand why girls wear white for graduation and celebrate this tradition that has become an essential part of graduation ceremonies worldwide.

Why do girls wear white for graduation?

Purity and a fresh start

Girls often wear white dresses during graduation because of the color’s various meanings. White often carries connotations of purity, fresh starts, and innocence. It is a symbol of hope and new beginnings.

Wearing white on graduation day helps represent graduates’ transition into adult life while still maintaining some youthfulness. The color denotes that students start afresh as they begin their next life chapter post-graduation.

White is a timeless color. A simple white dress provides an elegant, sophisticated, yet modest option that complements most skin tones. So, for many graduates, a plain white ensemble allows them to stand out on their special occasions without being too flashy.

White also matches well with accessories in brightly colored sashes, stoles, and flowers with school or university insignias allowing graduates to showcase their identity while keeping within traditional standards.

Overall, white dresses at graduations signify new phases of life filled with opportunities for growth and development for young women on an important milestone.

Girl wearing a white dress on graduation

Longstanding tradition

Girls wearing white dresses for graduation days carry on a long tradition. As I said in the beginning, the custom of girls wearing white for graduations began in the mid-1800s. Many schools at that time required graduates to wear white dresses or suits.

This tradition has continued over the years and is now a symbol of importance for graduation day. The white dress tradition shows that the graduation event means something special.

The symbolism behind white also adds to the tradition. White often means purity, innocence, and a fresh start. Wearing white on graduation represents the graduates’ change into grownups while still keeping some youth. It suggests that the graduates are starting over as they begin their lives after graduation.

White also indicates that the students achieved their goals and completed their school program by earning their degrees. This makes the color white a proper symbol for graduation day.

So, the custom of girls in white dresses for graduations joins together two factors: an old tradition that has lasted for many years and the significance behind the color white to make it fit for the important day.

Simplicity and elegance

Girls choose to wear white dresses for graduation day because of the simplicity and elegance the color provides. White symbolizes purity, innocence, and new beginnings, which match the event.

A white dress is a timeless option that flatters most skin tones. It allows the wearer to draw attention towards her accomplishments rather than her outfit on the important occasion. Wearing white for graduation represents the transition to womanhood while still retaining youthfulness.

White being a versatile hue, a simple white gown can be dressed up with jewels, heels, and makeup or dressed down with flats, cardigans, and minimal jewelry, depending on the graduate’s style. This gives graduates the freedom to express their personality through their choice of accessories.

Most importantly, because white is not an attention-seeking color, wearing a plain white dress for graduation provides an understated elegance that matches the seriousness and importance of the ceremony.

The graduate in a white outfit becomes the perfect symbol of purity, accomplishment, and hope for the future on her special day.

Ease of coordination

Girls often choose to wear white dresses for graduation because of the ease at which they can coordinate their whole outfit. White matches easily with various sashes, stoles, and jewelry carrying school colors, and the outfit looks put together.

A white outfit provides the perfect neutral backdrop against which bright graduation colors readily stand out. This makes it simple for girls to accessorize in their school’s signature shades without worrying that their dresses will clash.

Wearing white for graduation also allows girls to mix and match diverse accessories without everything appearing mismatched. They can combine simple and ornate pieces freely to create a personalized look that suits their tastes and style.

Most importantly, with all girls donning white dresses on graduation day, it becomes easy for organizers to line up students according to their departments, indicated by differently colored sashes or stoles. This uniformity during ceremonial procedures makes the overall event organized and aesthetically pleasing.

The versatility and harmony that white lends to the overall graduation layout, including individual outfits, makes it the obvious option for most female graduates.

Representation of success

Girls often prefer wearing white dresses for graduation because white represents success. White symbolizes purity, perfection, and completion, aligning with graduating from a program after years of effort.

Wearing a bright white dress on graduation day conveys that the graduate has met all requirements and achieved her degree goal. The color denotes she has walked the entire journey of her educational course and crossed the finish line successfully.

The simplicity yet immaculate brightness of a plain white ensemble helps showcase a graduate’s triumph on her big day. Mothers see their daughters in white dresses equally proud and happy on this important occasion of accomplishment.

White also helps make the impersonal ceremony more personal for each graduate by allowing her outfit to reflect and celebrate her individual success story. Family and friends taking photos see the girls graduating in white as perfect symbols of victory, filling them with hope and optimism for the future.

Thus, the significance imbued in color white by cultures worldwide makes it the first and obvious option for female graduates to flaunt their well-deserved success in style.

Girl wearing a white dress on graduation

Are girls supposed to wear white for college graduation?

There is no rule saying girls must wear white dresses for their college graduation. Different colleges have different graduation dress codes, and some have no guidelines at all about what to wear. However, wearing a plain white dress is a common choice for many female graduates for various reasons:

Many girls pick a simple white dress because of tradition. For over a century, wearing white for graduation has been the custom, especially in the United States. White dresses were seen as proper, respectable graduation wear.

A white dress also symbolizes fresh starts and new beginnings. White is seen as a pure color signifying innocence and simplicity. For a recent graduate beginning a new phase of life, a white dress shows that symbolic fresh start.

Plus, a plain white dress remains timeless, classic, and elegant for important events like graduation. The styling of most white dresses makes for a put-together, sophisticated, yet comfortable graduation outfit.

Having all female graduates wear white also helps make group photos easier since all their outfits match and coordinate well. The solid white color acts as a uniform background in photos.

Finally, wearing white represents the success and achievement of earning a degree. The bright white color shows that a graduate has accomplished their educational goal.

In conclusion, though not essential, many girls opt for a simple white dress for their college graduation due to tradition, symbolism, style, coordination, and showing their success. A plain white dress remains an elegant, noteworthy choice for the special occasion.

What should girls wear to graduation?

Graduation day is an important event in a girl’s life, so choosing the right graduation attire is important. Here are some options and guidelines for what girls can wear:

There are numerous options for girls to select from when picking graduation outfits. White dresses continue to be a popular choice for many female graduates. Wearing white symbolizes purity, innocence, and a fresh start as graduates embark on their next chapter.

However, white is not required, and other colors work well too. Light pastel colors like blue, lilac, and pink along with black, silver, and gold dresses, also make excellent graduation wear.

Dresses are probably the most traditional choice, but pantsuits, jumpsuits, and sleek blazers paired with trousers also make professional, smart graduation looks. Floral patterns, ruffle details, and other designs can supplement solid-colored dresses. A little black dress remains a timeless yet stylish selection for a trendier outfit.

When choosing a dress, girls should consider any guidelines set by their school. Some schools strictly specify which graduation gown color matches which dress color. Following these requirements ensures graduates match within their program. However, many institutions leave dress decisions entirely up to the individual.

Above all, the most vital factor is for females to select graduation attire that makes them feel great. They should choose an outfit that expresses their personal style while maintaining appropriateness for the occasion. Comfort and confidence should be top priorities on such an important day.

In conclusion, girls have many options for what to wear to graduation based on their preferences, school guidelines, and the event’s formality. The key is selecting an outfit that reflects the individual’s personality and taste while allowing her to feel poised and at ease on her special day.

Young girl wearing a white dress on graduation


Wearing white for graduation day has become a longstanding tradition that signifies purity, innocence, and a fresh start. The simplicity and elegance of a plain white dress complement the formality of the ceremony and allow graduates to stand out without being too flashy.

White also represents success and achievement, making it a proper symbol for graduation day. In addition, the uniformity of all graduates wearing white dresses makes coordinating group photos and lining up much simpler.

While not required, many girls opt for a simple white dress for their college graduation due to tradition, symbolism, style, coordination, and to showcase their success. Girls have many options for what to wear to graduation based on their preferences, school guidelines, and the event’s formality.

The most vital factor is for females to select graduation attire that makes them feel great and reflects their personal style while maintaining appropriateness for the occasion.


Is it traditional to wear a white dress for graduation

The tradition of wearing white during graduation has been around since the mid-1800s, and it is an American tradition. Women wore white dresses and carried bouquets; many schools wanted their graduates to look uniform. Wearing white originally started because of the desire for uniformity among women when they did not wear caps and gowns to graduation.

What does the white graduation gown mean?

White graduation gown traditionally represents degrees in the arts and humanities, such as English, history, and literature. Additionally, the color white holds symbolic value. It represents purity, innocence, and a fresh start, aligning with graduation and the idea of beginning a new journey in life.

Can I wear white to a graduation as a guest?

Yes, wearing white to graduation as a guest is perfectly acceptable. White symbolizes purity, innocence, and a fresh start, which is why it is such a popular choice for graduation ceremonies.

What do girls wear under graduation gown?

Girls can wear various clothing under graduation gowns, including dress pants, skirts, dresses, and blouses. The specific clothing item will depend on personal style and preference, as well as the color and length of the graduation gown.