Cap-and-gown graduation ceremonies are a tradition that go back to the Middle Ages. Even though times (and styles) have changed considerably since then, itís still important to cut a handsome image when youíre walking across the stage. Donning a graduation cap may seem simple, but thereís a right and a wrong way to do it that may vary depending on your school, field of study or graduate level. No matter what sort of cap youíre wearing, youíll want to make sure that it fits properly and is lined up in all the right places, and that you keep it in pristine condition until itís time to receive your diploma.
EditSteps

EditPutting on the Cap

  1. Arrange the cap so that the point is in front. The mortarboard (the square piece on the crown of the cap) is meant to be worn offset in a diamond shape. The front and back of the cap will usually be indicated by the design of the headpieceólook for the slight taper in the forehead area and the elastic band in the rear.[1]

    • Situate the cap so that the front corner of the mortarboard is centered on your forehead.[2]
    • If youíre still not sure which way it goes, take a look inside the brim. The manufacturer often includes basic directions for how to wear the cap properly.

  2. Make sure the cap sits evenly. Once the cap is on your head, the mortarboard should be flat and level with the ground. If itís not, you may need to tilt it slightly to straighten it out. Double check that the band of the headpiece is symmetrical and comes to a stop about an inch above your eyebrows.[3]

    • Donít push the cap too far forward or back on your head or let it lean to one side.[4]
    • To test whether your cap is level, try placing a lightweight object on top and see if it stays in place.

  3. Attach the tassel. If the cap doesnít have a fixed tassel, or it doesnít arrive preassembled, youíll need to put it on yourself. To do this, simply loop the circular end of the tassel over the raised ****on in the center of the mortarboard. It should be able to slide freely around the ****on without coming loose.[5]

    • Give the tassel a couple gentle tugs to make sure itís secure.

  4. Position the tassel correctly. At the beginning of the ceremony, the tassel should fall on the right side of the cap (unless otherwise specified). Once everyone in the class has been announced, you and your fellow grads will flip it around to the left side, signifying your transition from student to graduate.[6]

    • Some schools and programs may do things a little differently. Be sure that youíre clear about your schoolís established practices prior to the big day.
    • Keep the tassel out of your line of sight and resist the urge to mess with it as much as possible.

  5. Leave your cap on for the duration of the ceremony. Once you've got your cap and gown on, try not to fidget with them too much. They may not be the most comfortable, but you'll only have to wear them for a couple of hours.When it comes time to remove your cap, do it in styleónew graduates traditionally toss their caps into the air as a celebratory gesture when the ceremony draws to a close.

    • Resist the urge to remove your cap for any reason once the ceremony is underway, unless it's for the singing of the National Anthem.[7]
    • You can hold onto your cap if you'd rather be wearing it when it comes time to take pictures. In fact, this will definitely be a good idea if your regalia is rented!

EditLooking Your Best

  1. Order your cap and gown in the right size. Use the size measurements provided by the supplier to ensure that your graduation regalia will fit the way itís supposed to. The cap itself should be snug, but not too tight. If it keeps slipping out of place, itís most likely too big, whereas if itís cutting off your circulation you might benefit from going up a size.[8]

    • Get a more accurate estimate by measuring your crown with a tape measure and comparing that measurement to the available sizing options.[9]
    • Return poorly-fitting caps and gowns right away to give yourself plenty of time to have them exchanged for the correct size.

  2. Give the cap a trial run. Itís a good idea to try your cap and gown on a time or two before the actual ceremony so you can get an idea of how the completed ensemble will look together. This will also give you a chance to make any necessary last minute adjustments.[10]

    • The more times you wear the cap, the more comfortable youíll feel once itís time to take to the stage.

  3. Style your hair to fit under the cap. Most guys and ladies with shorter hair will be able to get away with minimal styling. Those with longer locks can experiment with ponytails, braids or straightened looks that draw the eye to the neck and shoulders. The key is to keep the hair smoothed away from the crown to give the cap the space it needs to rest comfortably.[11]

    • If youíd prefer to show off a more elegant style, try curling the ends or tucking it up so that itís just visible beneath the cap.
    • Itís typically wise to avoid up-dos and styles with too much volume.

  4. Save the cap for last. Wait until youíre wearing your gown, stole and any other components to put on the cap. That way, you can focus your attention on fixing your hair and makeup without worrying about messing them up later. The cap should be the final addition to your graduation regalia.[12]

    • Some gowns and hoods are designed to be slipped over your head, which can be tricky if youíve already got your cap on.

  5. Decorate your cap. Some schools may allow you to add small embellishments to your graduation cap to express your personality and help you stand out from the crowd. Tack on a few ****ons or a pendant for a modest injection of personality, or break out the paint pens, glitter and fabric letters to really make a statement. This is an important day in your life, so it's important that you enjoy yourself while you're receiving your honors.[13]

    • Use paint, fabric and other accessories in your school's colors.
    • Spell out a special message or quote related to graduation. Even if your classmates can't see it, the audience will.[14]
    • Be sure to run your decorating ideas by the principal or dean before you making any drastic modifications to your regalia.

EditKeeping Your Cap in Good Condition

  1. Put the cap away until you need it. The best way to protect your graduation cap from damage is to not take it out any more often than you have to. Stash the cap in the box it was packaged in when itís not in use and set it on the top shelf of a closet where it wonít get crushed or bent. This will keep it from being exposed to dust, sunlight and moisture, as well as other potential dangers like pets or small children.

    • Handle the mortarboard carefully. Always grip it lightly by the edges whenever youíre picking it up or setting it down.
    • As soon as you receive your cap and gown, place them on a hanger to work out the wrinkles.[15]

  2. Brush out the tassel. As your cap gets moved around, the strands of the tassel may get hung up on one another. Run your fingers through the strands before putting on the cap to separate them and keep them looking neat and orderly.[16]

    • This should be done just before you put the cap on so you can walk down the aisle confident and tangle-free.

  3. Keep your cap spotless. There will probably be no need to clean your cap prior to graduation, but if for some reason you must, do it with a gentle steaming or ironing. Never put the cap through the washing machine, have it dry cleaned or allow it to get wet, as this can easily ruin the fabric or cause it to lose its shape.[17]Advertisement


    • Brush loose dust and dirt from your cap and gown by hand rather than using an implement that may damage the material.
    • Donít leave your cap sitting out where it may get something spilled on it.

EditTips

  • Use a couple clips or bobby pins to prevent the cap from sliding around or being carried off by a gust of wind.
  • A small amount of low-hold hair styling product can keep a tight cap from wreaking havoc on your hair before you take pictures or go out for a celebratory dinner.
  • If your cap or gown needs to be ironed due to wrinkling, try placing a pillowcase between the gown and iron, then ironing it on low heat.

EditWarnings

  • Find a better place to keep your graduation regalia than in your car, locker or luggage.
  • Avoid ironing caps or gowns made from synthetic materials like polyester or rayon. Intense heat can cause them to melt.

EditReferences

EditQuick Summary

Cite error: tags exist, but no tag was found