Modern Mother of the Graduate Outfits from Real Graduations!

Your child’s graduation is a big deal for you as a parent, so naturally, you want to look your best at Convocation. What should you wear to look appropriate and modern? Here are some photos of mother-of-graduate outfits worn by my readers to actual graduations.


Polished and Professional

Knowing what to wear is quite simple if you keep the words conservative and classic top of mind. Think of graduation as a formal business event, and you may find yourself in something similar to this beautiful burnt orange sheath dress that my reader Kim wore to her daughter, Elena’s high school grad.

Both the style and color of this lovely Trouve dress give Kim a very polished look. I love the off-center ruching, which very figures flattering and adds a nice style touch. Kim kept her accessories simple by opting for a pair of cream drop earrings. Congratulations Kim. You look fab!

White For White Coat Ceremony

When Monica’s daughter Mary graduated as a Pharmacist, Monica looked picture perfect.  In keeping with Mary’s White Coat Ceremony, Mary wore a pretty white lace dress with a pale blue underlay.

Since the ceremony was held in an air-conditioned auditorium, Monica accessorized with a pale blue cardigan that complemented the blue underlay.  Open-toe nude heels rounded off her look. Doesn’t Monica look pretty? I love this dress!

Lovely in Lace

When Gails’s daughter Sarah received her Master of Education from the University of Minnesota, Gail wore this elegant, black shift dress from Anne Klein. The dress was super comfy, and the sheer lace panel down the front made this dress incredibly slim. You look radiant, Gail!

Cute in a Cold Shoulder Style

Cold shoulder dresses have been very fashionable in the last few years. They’re pretty and feminine, and as my reader, Becky, shows us, a good choice for a mother of the graduate dress. Becky looks lovely in this navy floral cold shoulder dress as she and her husband Mike pose with their daughter Victoria at her high school graduation.

Initially, Becky was concerned that this dress was too young for her, but after receiving so many compliments, she knew she had made the right choice. Becky purchased the dress at Target and was quite surprised to find a selection of cute dresses there. A simple pearl necklace lends a professional touch to this important graduation ceremony. Just beautiful, Becky!


Comfort Is Key

It was a busy day when Charice’s daughter, Brianne, graduated from the University of Tennessee College of Social Work. With so much going on that day and family visiting from Las Vegas and Germany, Charice wanted an easy, comfortable, and stylish dress.

Charice wore this elegant, understated Ponte knit dress from Banana Republic Factory Store. It held up perfectly throughout the long day and looked flawless even at the end. Charice calls this mother of the graduate outfits a “no-brainer”! Looking good, Charice!!


Mother of the graduate - Rachel

Eyelet Skirt and Cardigan

Go to any graduation, and cardigans are very popular with moms. They’re softer than blazers but give a polished professional look. Many women wear them over sleeveless dresses.

When Rachel’s son Lance graduated from the Maine Maritime Academy, Rachel wore a pretty coral cardigan with a cute eyelet skirt and a beautiful print scarf. I love that color on Rachel; it shows how a slight warmth near your face can make all the difference in those critical grad photos. Such a cute and cheery look, Rachel!


Flowy Florals

It was a proud moment for Michelle when her youngest child Travis graduated with 2 two Associates degrees, one in Applied Science in Computer Network Administration and one in Cyber Security. He will continue with his Bachelor’s degree in Information Technology. For the happy occasion, Michelle wore a Robbie Bee sleeveless swing dress in a floral print with nude ankle strap sandals. Michelle purchased the dress at JCPenney and received many compliments on it. I can certainly see why. Michelle looks fresh and polished, and navy is a flattering color.

Here are a few inspiring moms I found on Instagram who dressed up for Graduation Day.


mother of the grad lace dress


Lace Detail

This lovely lace dress looks beautiful and formal.

mother of the grad blue dress


A touch of Ruffles

Ruffles and a cold shoulder neckline are a beautiful detail for such a special event.


mother of the grad black and white dress


Black and White

You can’t go wrong with black and white. It’s always chic!

Want more ideas for mother-of-the-graduate outfits? Here are other suggestions for what to wear to graduation and some camera-ready mother-of-the-grad businesses currently in stores.

Thanks to all my readers who sent in photos for this post.  Do you have a graduation outfit you wore you would like to share? Please send a quality photo ( good lighting, no blur) to  info@fabulousafter40.com, and you could be my next Style Star.

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7 thoughts on “Modern Mother of the Graduate Outfits from Real Graduations!

  1. Lovely. It’s good to know what to wear, or one can come out wrong in the right outfit. Now I know. Thanks. Perfect ideas and cautions here.

  2. I am looking for ideas for outfits or dresses for my daughter’s high school graduation this June. I will be 60 years old and would like to look stylish for the event and not sure which stores to shop for a great dress in. I live in Calgary, Alberta.

    1. Hi Joyce,
      Congratulations on your daughter’s graduation. Have you tried Nordstrom Canada? http://www.nordstrom.ca
      They have some lovely things. I always shop there, and they just opened their Canadian website. They also have a store at the Chinook Centre.
      The Bay also carries a lot of dresses for these kinds of things.
      You could also try there or Melanie Lynn- another Canadian store.

      If you want to order online, Talbots and Ann Taylor have a lot of dresses. They have cross-border shopping.
      Here’s an overview of what to look for: https://www.fabulousafter40.com/what-to-wear-over-40-kids-graduation/
      Cheers, Deborah

  3. I love your articles for graduation on how to dress. But this one has me stumped or confused; in the others I read, you suggested no animal prints, no sexy, and I thought in this one, sexy bare shoulder? Short skirt? Animal prints? Please advise for May 2020

    1. Hi Maria,
      The essential thing to remember is that graduation is more like a business event and not a cocktail party. So you want to look conservative but pretty and feminine as the mother of the grad. You don’t want anything sexy, loud, or tacky that would take away from the grad, but that doesn’t mean you have to look dull or frumpy. A lovely sheath, shift dress, a skirt, and a top in a solid color or pretty print ( florals always work) are just guidelines. It’s ultimately up to the mom how she feels most authentic and confident. I think all these ladies look lovely. I hope that helps.

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