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20 Cute Dresses for Graduation & Beyond

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Graduation dress
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Spring semester is quickly coming to an end (yay!), and for some of our lovely readers that means graduation! Over the next few months, whether you’re graduating from high school, college, or just going to a graduation, you’ll need something great to wear!

Here are 20 great graduation-friendly dresses you’ll want to wear again and again.

1. Southern Preppy Dresses

Product Information: Lilly Pulitzer Allegra Dress, Zappos. Lorelei Dress, J Crew. Pia Dress, Akira Chicago. Seersucker Dress, American Eagle.

Southern preppy styles are what immediately pops into my head when I imagine graduation dresses! Their silhouettes, colors, and materials are the perfect blend of classic and fun. Even better, these sun dresses can be worn day-to-day come summer, and can also be worn to a warm weather wedding. They’re classic, flattering, and adorable!

2. White Dresses

Product Information: Kellie Dress, Delia’s. Patsy Duchess Dress, Coast Stores. Cotton Eyelet Halter Dress, C&C California. Rose Smock Dress, Topshop.

Required to wear white for graduation but don’t want to look like a bride? You’ve got lots of options and shades to choose from. If snow white isn’t flattering to you and you’re allowed to choose from similar colors, try ecru, champagne, off-white or eggshell! Top off your look with nude heels to elongate your pretty legs and you’re good to go.

3. Trendy Dresses

Product Information: Free People Bollywood Dress, Ron Herman. Lake Effect Dress, Modcloth. Nautical Dress, Missguided. Billabong Irina Dress, Pacsun.

If you’re trend-conscious and like to take risks with your look, these dresses could be perfect for you! From fun embellishments to bright colors, you’ll be the center of attention in one of these show stoppers. Trendy dresses are great because you’ll be able to incorporate them into your summer wardrobe without missing a beat. Added bonus? They’ll look great in colder seasons with a jean jacket, tights, and boots!

4. Dresses with Straps

Product Information: American Apparel Le Sac Convertible Dress, Bluefly. Broad Beach Dress, Hollister. Sugar Coated Tiers Dress, Ruche. Dotted Silk Dress, Forever 21.

If your school has strap requirements or you just aren’t a fan of strapless dresses, there are still a bunch of cute, fashionable styles for graduation. From cap sleeves to one shoulders to halters, you don’t have to go strapless to look totally amazing, and you won’t have to worry about hiking your dress up every five minutes.

5. Maxi Dresses

Product Information: Lotta Stesson Jersey Dress, Net-a-Porter. Missoni Style Maxi Dress, Arden B. Bandeau Maxi Dress by Unique, Topshop. Giraffe Print Maxi, Dorothy Perkins.

Maxi dresses were huge last summer and it looks as if the style is here to stay. Not only are these dresses figure-flattering for a variety of body types, but they’re also super easy to wear–they give off that slightly bohemian, effortlessly stylish vibe that so many of us strive for! Maxis are also great if you’re not into wearing heels since they look amazing with sandals, gladiators, or espadrilles. That being said, if you’re short, you can totally get away with a pair of sky-high heels under that dress–no one will be able to see that you’ve got them on!

Tell me what you’re thinking!

Are you graduating this semester? Planning on attending a friend or family member’s graduation celebration in a few short weeks? What are you going to wear?! Let me know with a comment!

Posted on on April 8, 2010 / Filed Under: Shopping / Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

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32 Responses to “20 Cute Dresses for Graduation & Beyond”

  1. 1
    April 8th, 2010 at 10:17 am

    Oh yes! I will be attending my brother’s graduation in Florida this May! Great help. Havent thought about what to wear yet… this article has gotten the ball rolling for me …. =)
    Haha thank you so much Liza!

  2. 2
    April 8th, 2010 at 10:23 am

    Nice post…

    Maxi dresses are definitely a good choice this year!

  3. 3
    April 8th, 2010 at 11:03 am

    this is such a great post and it has really helped me out. it has given me some ideas as to what type of dress i might want to wear to my graduation in june!

  4. 4
    April 8th, 2010 at 11:09 am

    This is a great post Liza! Very neat and organized, I may not be graduating anytime soon, but I will definitely keep your tips in mind!

  5. 5
    April 8th, 2010 at 11:35 am

    I’m DYING for that Missoni style maxi from Arden B. but it’s no longer on the website!! Love.

  6. 6
    April 8th, 2010 at 11:47 am

    I’m a fan of the J. Crew and Billabong dress. The colors you selected for both are lovely.

  7. 7
    April 8th, 2010 at 12:12 pm

    Great choices, also love the Missoni-inspired one!

  8. 8
    April 8th, 2010 at 12:22 pm

    these are good ideas. i’ll be graduating in the fall, can you come up with some ideas for fall graduation dresses to wear??

  9. 9
    April 8th, 2010 at 12:51 pm

    I really like all the white dresses, as well as the bollywood free people dress (that one’s my favorite actually–so fun and unique!)

    Wish I had an excuse to by one… alas I do not, haha.

  10. 10
    April 8th, 2010 at 1:03 pm

    Great post, Liza! I had never thought about a maxi dress before!

  11. 11
    April 8th, 2010 at 1:44 pm

    I’m graduating from high school in May, and I live in Texas so it will be really hot! I am wearing a really cute white dress from Bloomingdales.

  12. 12
    April 8th, 2010 at 1:45 pm

    LOVE the southern-style dresses. Thanks, Liza!

  13. 13
    April 8th, 2010 at 2:31 pm

    Adorable dresses. Unfortunately, my school encourages students to wear dark shoes, dark skirts or pants, and long sleeved white blouses or shirts to graduation. Which, quite frankly, sounds pretty unattractive.

  14. 14
    April 8th, 2010 at 3:30 pm

    That’s the first maxi dress with sleeves I’ve ever seen. Of course it’s Missoni. They can do no wrong!

  15. 15
    April 8th, 2010 at 4:46 pm

    Loving that Missoni Dress!!

  16. 16
    April 8th, 2010 at 5:09 pm

    I can’t find the Missoni-style maxi dress on the Arden B website- did you use a fashion search engine site (like Polyvore or ShopStyle)? If so, just be careful with those because they don’t update to reflect if styles sell out on their actual website…which is upsetting, because I love that dress but I think it’s sold out!

  17. 17
    April 8th, 2010 at 10:14 pm

    OMG! I am soo excited to go shopping for my grad dress! Granted I still need to deal with my final undergrad final exams… I have to find the perfect dress STAT. Thanks for the ideas. Love the purple dress from American Apparel and the maxi dresses too.

  18. 18
    April 9th, 2010 at 2:01 am

    I’m sorry but that forever 21 dress in the straps section is not cute. I saw it on their website; not cute.

  19. 19
    April 9th, 2010 at 1:49 pm

    No black dresses? At my graduation it was the only colour that went with our gowns! hehe. Plus it was boiling hot so I could never of pulled off a maxi dress with it all! Really like the sweet white options though! :-)

  20. 20
    April 10th, 2010 at 11:16 am

    You might not want to wear a maxi-dress (or even a longish skirt) if you have to wear a cap and gown. The skirt sticking out the bottom from under the gown looks super sloppy and awkward. Just a thought!

  21. 21
    April 10th, 2010 at 10:03 pm

    This article is a good starting guide!

    I think that a disclaimer is in order though. For example, that some of these short dresses would look good on most people for graduation, but be inappropriate for taller girls. When it comes to dresses–a few inches really makes a huge difference–and I don’t think anyone really wants to luck a tad “provocative” on their graduation day.

  22. 22
    June 8th, 2010 at 3:52 pm

    I’m going to my cousin’s graduation soon, and I’m stumped on what to wear. The invitation says “business attire.” What exactly does that mean? Any ideas on what to wear? I’m 16 btw.

  23. 23
    July 8th, 2010 at 10:30 pm

    really allover cute dress & dress fabric . so cute
    yhank u

  24. 24
    October 5th, 2010 at 10:42 am

    Maxi’s are my best friend this year. a blend of sexy and feminine. can’t go wrong!

  25. 25
    October 28th, 2010 at 3:27 pm

    sigh**..i need help..i need an outfit for my graduation coming up next month..preferably a dress and it has to be black or white or black and white.. help anybody??

  26. 26
    April 17th, 2011 at 11:30 pm

    I have converted over to the maxi . Comfortabl,.sexy,feminine,and fun,that is how I describe these dresses ! Good Bye mini skirts and skinny jeans !

  27. 27
    October 12th, 2011 at 10:29 am

    Wow these dresses look so amazing! I cant wait for that day when I graduate.

  28. 28
    April 9th, 2012 at 10:56 am

    i love that purple dress. i wiil be graduating in may and i am looking for sumthing ( preferably a dress) royal blue and blinglicious or purple and blinglicious with an ostrich pattern at the bottom.

  29. 29
    May 8th, 2013 at 6:42 pm

    These dresses are so cute to wear I have all of them at my house

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