Guest and Graduate Attire

What to wear and when

Guest Attire

Most events are designed for graduating students and their families. We encourage you to dress comfortably for the weekend, taking weather conditions into account. There are no formal expectations for what guests should wear during the weekend.

  • Most guests tend to dress up more (what might be worn to a religious service, for example) for the Baccalaureate Service and the main Commencement ceremony.
  • The air conditioning will be on in Kaplan Arena and the arena can get quite chilly!  We recommend that you dress in layers or bring a sweater.
Graduating Student Attire

We suggest graduating students wear business or business attire under their regalia. Learn about acquiring regalia.

  • Mortar boards (caps) may not have inappropriate messages attached.
  • Graduates may want to dress in layers for events in Kaplan Arena in case the arena is uncomfortably cool.
  • Doctoral Degree Candidates:  The William & Mary doctoral regalia consist of a green open-front robe, patterned after those used at Oxford University, and a black velvet tam. Hoods are not worn with Oxford-style robes. A white shirt/blouse with black slacks/skirt should be worn under the robe. 
No Regalia Worn

Baccalaureate Service*
Saturday Departmental Receptions **
Alumni Induction Ceremony

Wear Caps/Gowns (no hoods)

Candlelight Ceremony (tassel should be worn on the right side of the mortar board)

Full Regalia (caps, gowns, hoods)

Walk Across Campus
Main Commencement Ceremony
Departmental Diploma Ceremony

* Only class officers wear regalia to the Baccalaureate Service
** Students should check with their department /program