A man’s guide to looking dapper at graduation
What a minefield ey?
You’ve made it: weeks of waking up at 7am to get a table at the library, thousands of pounds of debt and hundreds of lectures later, you’re here.
These overpriced, awkwardly posed photos will stand on your mantelpiece for the foreseeable future, so get it right. Years of work have gone in to your 2.2, and you want to at least get a profile picture out of the ordeal. You might think it’s as simple as throwing on a blazer, but boy are you wrong.
It doesn’t matter if a suit is electric blue or deep grey: if it’s well fitted, it’ll look good. You don’t need to spend £500 on a Hugo Boss suit to look sharp – although if you can, do. There are loads of high street shops with well fitted suits off the shelf: even Topman have a respectable collection. Go in with time to spare, a few days before your graduation to get alterations done, and you’ll look like Harvey Specter in no time.
Jocelyn Yih, a fashion writer from Hong Kong, said: “If you’re wearing a black gown, stick with dark colours. Keep it subtle: traditional colours and dark, warm ones, like burgundy, are the way to go.
“If you’re feeling adventurous, I’ve been seeing a lot of stripes at London Collections Men this week. Brands wise, Noose, Monkey and Topman have affordable ranges which fit well.”
Whatever you do, don’t do up the bottom button on your jacket. It’s just not right. No one will tell you you’re not meant to – they’ll just secretly laugh at your naivety.
For such a formal occasion, a white shirt is best. Avoid oxford collars, but match your tie knot with the collar of your shirt. Once again, fitting is vital here. If you can’t do up your top button, drop it off to your local Oxfam. You don’t want to risk looking like an overweight chemistry teacher who thinks he’s going for the “chilled out” look.
Save the Winchester collar shirts (two-toned) for your fancy pants job in the city. Keep it simple, and don’t try to detract attention from the plastic scroll in your hands.
The importance of a tie should knot be underestimated. They have much more of an impact than they seem to. Red ties with a dark suit can assert dominance and evoke passion: so if you really did love Business Studies, rock the red. A black tie could look arrogant, and you’re not going up to collect an Oscar – it’s a handshake with some old guy you’ve never heard of.
Don’t go for your bog standard four-in-hand knot, either. They’re boring and remind people of school. Be adventurous, go for a full Windsor. Bear in mind tie knots take some time to perfect, so get on YouTube now to start learning.
David Zyla, an Emmy award winning costume designer, said: “Colours give off very specific signals. The same suit can be transformed with different tie colours, each with a very different impact and message.”.
If you had to wipe the dust and cobwebs off your shoes before you put them on, please rethink. Shoes should be polished, and instant ink stuff doesn’t count. Go to a proper shoe shop, bite the bullet and spend the extra £6 on a proper shoe shining kit. It’s worth it.
Shoes should also complement the colour of the suit. Jocelyn Yih added: “Black, laced shoes are a must. Steer clear of slip-ons or boots. Keep them practical and comfortable too.”
Whatever shoes you choose, match them with your belt. They don’t need to be the leather from the same cow, but at least wear black with black.
Pocket squares have had a newfound popularity in recent years. If worn correctly, and with confidence, they can look very suave. But make sure your pocket square matches your tie, shirt and suit. If you’re unsure, use a colour chart or something (and if you were actually thinking of using a colour chart, don’t wear a pocket square). The risk is you end up looking like a public school twat, especially if coupled with an old school tie and boxers, so chose wisely.
Tie clips have tried to make a comeback, but they’re a bit naff. If you are going to wear one, keep it simple. If you’ve got this far, and have a bit of student loan left over, why not get a pocket watch? You’ll look like the true gentleman. Just remember to actually use it to check the time, instead of whipping out your cracked, lime green iPhone 5C.
Congratulations on completing university, now enjoy unemployment.
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