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Graduation Outfit Ideas for Cap and Gown Pictures

May 9, 2023

senior portraits


Finding a graduation look you love

A girl in a white dress smiles, the sun setting behind her, as she sits on a riverside rock overlooking the water.

Trying to find the perfect outfit to wear to graduation? You may be wondering what to wear to make the shapeless blob that is the graduation cap and gown look better.

I like to call the graduation attire a “glorified trash bag,” especially if your school’s happens to be a plain black cap and gown. For graduation pictures, I do my best to get a variety of combinations with the cap and gown so that it’s not just covering you the whole time! Most likely, we’ll do a few photos with the whole getup, but then we’ll alternate with just the cap, holding the graduation gown over your shoulder, etc.

Casual grad outfits and accessories

It’s always a good idea to pick one casual outfit and then something a little more dressy for the cap and gown pictures. I love that Kaydence chose to rep her future college for a more casual look with a college tee and jean shorts. You can wear your high school colors or future college colors. You can also wear anything that makes you feel confident, comfortable and cute!

Accessory ideas for your grad pictures:

Stoles and cords from your school (the colorful strings you wear for honor society, clubs, etc.)

A college baseball cap or bucket hat

A childhood photo

A family photo

Flowers you love

A decorated graduation cap (check out my tutorial for a removable one here!)

Your pet(s)

Your favorite record

Your car

If you play a sport, a ball or item from your sport

Shoes in a complementary color to your outfit

A girl in a white dress holds a bouquet of yellow and white daisies in honor of her deceased grandmother

Kaydence brought a bouquet of yellow and white daisies along in remembrance of her grandmother, which I thought was so sweet. Accessories like this add a nice personal touch! 

Another popular outfit idea for cap and gown photos is the classic “LWD” (little white dress) because it goes with anything and is easy to match to any color. Depending on the color of your cap and gown, you can choose a color that’s complementary to it. During graduation, you won’t really see it anyways, but for the photos we’ll do a mix of pictures with and without the graduation attire. 

Even if you only choose one outfit, you can go to different locations and still get a variety of amazing photos with unique scenery! We started our session in Downtown New Albany, Indiana, and then we ended with golden hour at Falls of the Ohio State Park.

A high school grad in a white dress poses in front of the sunset with her graduation cap on and the robe over her shoulder

Looking for cute outfits for your cap + gown photos?

Check out some of my favorite stores for cute graduation outfits:

Darling State of Mind

Ivy City Co

Impressions Online Boutique

Altar’d State


Baltic Born


I hope you loved these ideas for what to wear with your graduation outfit for cap and gown pictures!  Follow me on Instagram for more senior inspiration and ideas for your graduation photos, and visit my website to book your cap and gown session with me.

Did you love this blog post? Here are some of my other favorites you might love too!

What to include in your graduation announcements, where to order them and more

The best outdoor locations for Louisville senior pictures

My favorite locations for Louisville senior pictures in spring and summer

A photo of Johanna (owner of Frames and Letters Photography)

about the photographer

Johanna Hribal is a color obsessed senior photographer for fun loving grads in Louisville, Southern Indiana or wherever you want to go!  Find out more about your personalized senior portrait experience here. Fill out a contact form to get in touch about your upcoming event.

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