How to a wear graduation cords and stoles

How to a wear graduation cords and stoles

How to wear graduation cords and stoles

Graduation day is a significant milestone, and wearing your graduation cords and stoles correctly can enhance your appearance and symbolize your achievements. This guide provides a comprehensive overview of how to properly wear, maintain, and select graduation regalia to ensure you look your best on this special day.

Key Takeaways

  • Understand the differences between stoles, sashes, and cords and their respective significances and customs.
  • Select and order your graduation stole and cords well in advance to ensure proper fit and availability.
  • Properly layer and arrange your stoles and cords to avoid tangles and ensure the visibility of academic symbols.
  • Practice wearing your graduation regalia before the ceremony to adjust for comfort and appearance.
  • Maintain your graduation regalia post-ceremony by cleaning and storing it properly to preserve its condition.

Understanding Graduation Regalia

Differentiating Between Stoles, Sashes, and Cords

Graduation stoles, sashes, and cords each hold unique positions in academic regalia. Stoles are broad ribbons worn around the neck that drape over the shoulders, often signifying specific achievements or affiliations. Sashes are similar but can be worn in various ways, not just around the neck. Cords are braided ropes given to honor academic or extracurricular accomplishments.

The Significance of Colors and Materials

The colors and materials of graduation regalia carry deep symbolic meanings. Colors often represent different fields of study, while materials can denote the level of academic achievement. For example, silk might be used for higher degrees. This aspect of regalia not only adds to the visual appeal but also celebrates the graduate's academic journey.

Customs and Traditions

Graduation regalia is steeped in customs and traditions that date back centuries. Wearing these items correctly is a sign of respect for the institution and its history. It's important to understand these traditions to appreciate the full significance of the ceremony and to ensure that you are wearing your regalia in the manner expected by your institution.

Preparing Your Graduation Stole and Cords

Selecting the Right Stole

Choose a graduation stole that represents your academic achievements or field of study. It's crucial to select a stole that not only matches your gown but also signifies your specific accomplishments or affiliations. You can typically purchase these from your school’s bookstore or a reputable online retailer. Remember to order early to ensure availability.

Choosing Appropriate Cords

Graduation cords symbolize your involvement in various academic societies or achievements. When selecting cords, consider the colors and meanings associated with each to properly convey your accomplishments. Here’s a simple guide to help you choose:

  • Gold Cords: Honor societies
  • Silver Cords: Academic excellence in a specific field
  • Red Cords: Leadership roles

Ordering and Receiving Your Regalia

Ensure you place your order well in advance of graduation day to avoid any last-minute issues. Check the condition of your stole and cords upon receipt to ensure there are no defects or mistakes. If there are any issues, contact the supplier immediately to arrange for replacements or adjustments.

Dressing for the Occasion

Layering Stoles and Cords Correctly

To ensure a polished look, start by placing your stole over your gown, followed by layering cords on top. Arrange the cords in order of importance or length to maintain visibility and neatness.

Matching Colors with Your Gown

Select stoles and cords that complement or contrast effectively with your gown. This not only enhances your appearance but also respects the ceremonial significance of the event.

Final Adjustments Before the Ceremony

Make last-minute adjustments to your regalia to ensure everything is secure and sits comfortably. Check for any misalignments or discomfort that could distract during the ceremony. It's crucial to look and feel your best.

Practical Tips for Wearing Graduation Cords

Arranging Multiple Cords

To avoid tangles and ensure a neat appearance, arrange your cords in order of importance or color coordination before draping them over your neck. If possible, secure them together at the top to keep them in place.

Preventing Tangles and Slips

Use small clips or ties to secure the cords together at the nape of the neck. This prevents them from shifting and tangling during the ceremony. Ensure each cord is visible and falls evenly on both sides.

Comfort and Appearance

Adjust the cords so they sit comfortably without pulling on your neck. Check their placement in a mirror to ensure they are symmetrical and present a polished look. Remember, comfort is key to maintaining your composure and enjoying your graduation day.

How to Wear a Graduation Stole

Proper Placement on the Shoulders

The graduation stole should rest comfortably on your shoulders, centered on your neck with the ends falling evenly down the front of your gown. Ensure the stole does not twist or fold to maintain a neat appearance.

Adjusting the Length

Adjust the length of the stole so that the front is slightly shorter than the back. This not only looks better but also prevents the stole from interfering with any other graduation regalia you might be wearing, such as cords.

Ensuring the Visibility of Academic Symbols

Make sure that any academic symbols, letters, or logos on the stole are visible and not covered by other elements of your graduation attire. This might require some minor adjustments to the stole’s position or the way you wear your gown.

Maintaining Your Graduation Stole and Cords

Cleaning and Storing After the Ceremony

Ensure your graduation stole and cords are stored properly after the ceremony to preserve their condition. Place them in a dry, safe place, and consider framing them as a keepsake.

Handling Wrinkles and Stains

To maintain a neat appearance, iron your stole and cords carefully before storing them. Address any stains immediately using appropriate cleaning methods to avoid permanent damage.

Long-term Preservation Tips

  • Store in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight.
  • Use acid-free tissue paper for wrapping.
  • Avoid using plastic bags for long-term storage, as they can trap moisture.

Remember, these items symbolize your academic achievements and deserve careful preservation.

Special Considerations for Different Institutions

Understanding Specific School Guidelines

Each institution has its own set of guidelines for graduation attire, which can vary significantly. Ensure you consult your school's specific regulations to avoid any discrepancies on your graduation day.

Cultural and Institutional Variations

Graduation traditions and regalia can differ not just by country, but often within the same region based on the institution's heritage and the academic program. It's crucial to understand these nuances to respect the cultural significance and comply with institutional norms.

Seeking Advice from Alumni and Faculty

Alumni and faculty members are valuable resources for insights into the graduation ceremony's dos and don'ts. They can provide practical advice and tips based on their experiences, which can be especially helpful for navigating any unique aspects of your institution's graduation protocol.

Practicing Before the Big Day

Trial Runs with Full Regalia

Conducting trial runs with your full graduation attire is crucial. This ensures that every piece fits correctly and looks good together. Lay out your gown, stole, cords, and any other accessories a few days before the event to make any necessary adjustments.

Seeking Feedback

After dressing up, it's beneficial to seek feedback from friends, family, or mentors. They can provide insights on the fit and appearance, and suggest any improvements to enhance your overall look.

Adjusting for Comfort and Style

Comfort is key for your big day. Make sure to move around in your regalia to test its comfort level. Adjust the placement of stoles and cords to avoid any discomfort during the ceremony.


Graduation day is a significant milestone, and wearing your graduation cords and stoles correctly adds to the ceremonial splendor. Remember to drape your stole neatly over your shoulders, ensuring it hangs symmetrically. Layer your cords without tangling them, and ensure they complement the colors of your gown and stole. Practice wearing them before the big day to ensure comfort and confidence. By following these guidelines, you'll look polished and proud as you walk across the stage to receive your well-earned diploma.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I properly wear a graduation stole?

The graduation stole should be draped around your neck so that it rests comfortably on your shoulders with two ends hanging down in front of your gown. The front part should be slightly shorter than the back part.

How should I wear multiple graduation cords?

Graduation cords should be placed around the back of your neck, hanging off your shoulders in the front. If wearing multiple cords, layer them neatly to prevent tangling.

Can stoles, sashes, and cords be worn simultaneously?

Yes, stoles, sashes, and cords can be worn at the same time by stacking them on top of each other. Typically, cords are placed on top of the stole.

What are the guidelines for matching graduation stoles and cords with my gown?

Your stole and cords should complement the color of your gown, either by matching or contrasting with it. Ensure that the colors do not clash to maintain a cohesive look.

How do I handle and clean my graduation stole after the ceremony?

After the ceremony, carefully clean and store your stole to prevent wrinkles and stains. Follow specific cleaning instructions based on the material of the stole.

What should I do to prepare for wearing my graduation regalia on the big day?

Practice wearing your graduation stole and cords several days before the ceremony to ensure comfort and familiarity with the setup. Adjust as needed for style and comfort.

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