Fashion and non fashion tips for your graduation day

Winnie Mbithe

*I have a degree in journalism *I strongly believe that I am super ceative *Everyone has a passion and mine with no shadow of doubt is creative writing.

There is no happier feeling than seeing your name on the final graduation list. The thrill that you get knowing that the efforts and sleepless nights you put in studying are finally getting rewarded. I graduated in December last year and to save you from some of the hassles I went through here is a list of what you should do to ensure a smooth running on your big day.

The gown

During pick up

Due to unavoidable circumstances, I graduated few months after most of my mates hence I went to pick my gown alone. Do not do that unless your campus has mirrors in every room. Picking the right gown is an essential thing since it will determine your mood during the graduation: Good gown=positive energy, Bad gown=negative energy. Hence you need a friend to be there with you to at least check and affirm that you look nice in the gown you have picked. And for the ladies when you are trying on the cap make sure that the hairstyle you have will be the one you graduate in or at least something similar to that. I saw one girl who had a straight weave when picking the cap and had a curly one during graduation hence the cap did not fit.

After pick up

Once you have the gown, make sure it is clean and ironed then cover up it up before putting it in the closet. (Always good to be safe)

The outfit and shoes

I wore an animal print knee length dress and a pair of Bianca heels. During the graduation, I was seated next to a lady who was wearing a pair of jeans. Maybe she was going straight to a club or something but she looked too casual. This is your day, you better shine! Dresses are the absolute best to wear but make sure your dress is short and fitting since the gown is already big. Do not worry about showing too much skin, most of the gowns are usually long and only the occasional wind will expose your legs. However, if you want to break from the normal and suit up like Janelle Monae, that is totally acceptable too and since wearing a suit is totally standing out grab the opportunity and go all the way and add a tie. Good luck tho’ people might stare.

For the shoes, two types of heels work best; The platforms and wedges this is because both offer enough support to the person wearing them. However, please save yourself the embarrassment of tripping and falling if you are not used to rocking heels.

For the gents, an official outfit is an optimum option but make sure it’s well ironed and absolutely fitting. Switch things up a little bit with a pair of knee length boots or Ankara shoes if they are available.

Hair and make up

I had a shoulder length loose curls weave. However, I was very cautious not to take my cap off as I was not sure I could easily get it back on. I know African ladies are nowadays embracing their natural hair more, and that is a good thing. However, you might want to use bobby pins to help secure your cap. Otherwise thin braids or long straight weaves are less stressful. Please do not go to the salon the night prior your graduation day since you will not have a chance to change your hairstyle if the cap does not fit.  For make-up follow your normal makeup routine and don’t forget to powder your face to avoid looking oily.

For the men, please go for a good shave and avoid putting a lot of oil on your hair. It might melt and that is not good! You can borrow your sister’s powder and patch your face a little. Some might think powdering up is not masculine. A quick question, would you rather have pictures of an oily you or go a little out of your ‘normal’ and touch up?

What to carry

For the ladies. Have a small purse that will fit all your makeup, do not forget to include a small mirror while you are parking.  Carry a pair of flats with you just in case you get tired of wearing heels. For both gentlemen and ladies have a small bottle of perfume with you. I know you did shower in the morning but you also need to smell nice throughout the day. Believe me when I say- smelling nice will boost your moods. And there are no excuses as to where it will fit, nowadays companies are manufacturing bottles as small as five millilitres.


We all know that photography allows us to capture moments and relive events. I bought a new phone on my graduation week basically for the purpose of photography, booked a photo studio and carried a selfie stick. I was determined to capture those awesome moments. Well, you don’t have to necessarily follow what I did, but it is a good thing to at least have a professional camera person take a few pictures of you and those who accompanied you. Those pictures can be framed or mounted the choice is totally yours. If you think about it, graduation is a once in a lifetime thing you really need to have as many good quality photos as possible.

After Party

The graduation ceremony is over, what next? A party of course! You have to reward yourself. It might be a formal party with friends and family, a club party with friends, a small dinner with close family members or a big ceremonious reception with many invited guests. Whichever you choose book and plan everything in advance. If it’s the latter have chefs preparing while you are at the graduation ceremony. Do not forget to pay all the cash deposits where required. Remember planning ahead is the key to success. Shopr has saved you from the graduation drama now sit, tick your checklist and slay on your graduation.