What to Wear??

It’s months off, but I’m already starting to stress over what to wear to My Favorite Domer’s Commencement.

This tear-filled occasion celebration falls in May. The weather, I hope, will be clear, sunny, calm, and warm.

But I’m not counting on it. After all, we’re talking South Bend.

Home of PermaCloud. And bucket loads of snow, thanks to something called the “lake effect.” And gale-force winds with thunderstorms.

A few years have passed (well, okay, more than a few!) since I was the college grad. It was hot but sunny. I wore a dress.

If I didn’t have pictures to mark the event, I wouldn’t remember that my dad wore a suit; my mom, a dress.

I haven’t a clue what other parents wore.

Now that I’m the mom, I know how important it is not to embarrass your kid in public.

Certainly NOT at his Commencement!

So I’ve been scouting online forums to determine what’s “proper” attire for such a momentous occasion.

Here’s what I’m finding:

  • Parents should dress nice.

What’s nice? I wear jeans just about every day, and they look nice. But something tells me they won’t fly for a commencement.

  • Parents should dress as if they’re going to Church.

Oh, no, don’t get me started on that! I’m Catholic, remember, and we believe dressing for church is pretentious. So we wear jeans, sweat pants, T-shirts, cowboy boots, shorts, you-name-it. Priests have long complained, but their complaints fall on deaf ears. I think they secretly fear that if they complain too loud and often, nobody will show up at all!

  • Parents (especially moms) should wear comfortable shoes.

Really? Isn’t “comfort” relative? I mean, my Nikes are comfortable; so are my moccasins. But they wouldn’t be appropriate at a commencement, would they?

  • Parents shouldn’t dress in a risque’ manner.

Well, okay, that one I get. No plunging necklines, no slit-up-to-here, no see-through anything. Perfectly doable.

  • Parents should be mindful of the surroundings. Long sleeves for indoor ceremonies; sunscreen and hats for outside.

Right. I can already see me sitting in a summer frock atop Notre Dame Stadium, wearing a baseball cap and shades, snuggled beneath a plastic rain poncho, and warming my bunny-slippered feet with my heavy winter coat!

That about covers all bases, don’t you think?

P.S. Seriously, if anybody reading this has any concrete, viable suggestions for taming the “Battle with the Closet” for Commencement, I’m all ears!

26 thoughts on “What to Wear??

  1. A nice solid dress – tailored but comfortable. A beautiful, colorful scarf, tied loosely. A small umbrella along (at least in your luggage) in the event of rain. Comfortable shoes? So many now (Nordstrom is my favorite spot for these) that are good for your feet, have a smallish heel, and maybe a little patent leather that dresses them up. Or a sandal with a wedge heel.

    • Thanks, Barb, for your suggestions. I’m not a scarf person. Never have been. But I like the idea of “tailored but comfortable.” I have nothing in my closet that fits the bill right now, so I guess I’ll have to go shopping. Sigh.

  2. Oh – and your biggest smile – maybe sunglasses if it’s outside (to hide those tears and thereby not embarrass said Domer). Both these will come naturally. 😉

    • Smiles? Oh, yeah, I’ll be FULL of those, for sure! It’s quite an accomplishment to have a kid graduate from college — especially when I don’t feel a day over 30 myself, heehee!

  3. Well…this is truly important. I’m glad you’re thinking ahead. Don’t wear what Hilary Clinton wore to Chelsea’s graduation…an all yellow pant suit and a big straw hat. Not bad but to much yellow. I checked out celebrity parents at their kids college graduations and they seemed to wear a lot of black and white with big sunglasses. I liked tailored crop pants, light jacket and lose shirt another popular choice. Shoes with just a hint of a heal. Naturally you will need to bead a pair of earring that will pull it all together. I will continue to explore this question BUT I have no doubt you will look perfect. Maybe you should post your choices and let us vote?

    • It’s a sure bet I won’t wear yellow. Canary isn’t what I’m aiming for! I think the big sunglasses are to hide one’s tears (or one’s age, depending!). And I think a light jacket of some sort is going to be very necessary — whether there’s lots of sunshine, or it’s chilly. May isn’t exactly known for being a warm month, especially in northern Indiana. Thanks for your help!

    • You and me both, Monica — seems like just yesterday that I was dropping him off for freshman year! At least in most places, June weather is a bit more favorable than May’s, so take heart!

      • Thanks, Debbie! My daughter actually is graduating a quarter early. So when she comes home for Spring Break, she’ll be done and will stay here about a month or so. Then she returns to Chicago to start her new job! She got the offer in October so it’s been quite a relief, though I’m going to miss her being able to come home for the long summer break. There’ll be no more of that! How about your son? What are his plans?

  4. Cool! My cousin is graduating from Notre Dame this May too! I have not asked what her folks will wear. I agree with pants if you’re going to be sitting in a football stadium! Nice slacks, comfortable shoes, and a blouse with a jacket and you’re set to go!

  5. Aww, Debbie, this post made me feel bittersweet. I am filled with pride that my own son will be graduating from college this spring and sad that since I live 4,000 miles away, I won’t be there. On the bright side, I won’t have to worry about what to wear….I’ll be dressed in my trademark sweats and tennis shoes and cheering long distance!

    • Pat, congratulations to your son on his upcoming graduation! Will he be entering the working world, or furthering his education? My heart goes out to you that you can’t be there. However, you’ve cheered me up immensely — you see, there ARE worse things than the “Battle of the Closet”, things like not having to face the battle at all. No way could I miss Domer’s Commencement — appropriate attire or not. Perhaps, with all the folks in attendance, nobody will even notice little ole me!!

  6. Debbie, I feel your pain. I too struggle and suffer over what and how to dress myself for fancy schmanzy events like these! That said, I’m 100 percent certain that Domer will think you look beautiful no matter what you wear! Given it’s spring, the soft hues would be in order, however, given the combination of rain and the good Lord knows what else, black is timeless. How exciting that the day is nearing! 🙂

    • Exciting, yes. But nostalgic, too. After all, gone will be the days he can come home on break and spend a whole month over Christmas! Enjoy Son while you can because they grow up far too fast!!

  7. How exciting for you! I don’t really have advice on what to wear (except the comfy shoes – you have to do that!)

    I kind of chuckled at the suggestion not to dress in a risque manner…kind of funny/sad that it has to be mentioned. Also reminds me of flag football last year – one of the moms brought her son to practice and she wore high heels, tight pants and a bustier. So hard not to laugh as she aerated the grass as she walked 🙂 Good luck on your decision!

    • Oh, Janna, that’s too funny how that mom dressed for a flag football practice! I guess it’s true that you see everything, though, and that’s why somebody has to make guidelines. Men have it so easy — wear a suit!

    • I don’t think I’ve ever pulled off the hoochie mama look, Tanya! Thanks for your suggestion and the link — good points, sensible, practical, and always in taste. You just know I’m gonna have a good time (between my tears!); as for the pictures afterward, we’ll see. I’m usually the one behind the camera, ha!

  8. I planned to wear dress pants and a nice sweater to my son’s December commencement. It was bitter cold that day. My son’s girlfriend’s parents were attending with us. Girlfriend had graduated the year before. Her mom was planning to wear jeans and a sweatshirt to my son’s graduation ceremony. She assured me that it was a casual event. Three adults that day kept trying to convince me I should wear jeans. I let them talk me into it. I felt bad, but wore the nice sweater.

    When we arrived at the auditorium, I found that most people were, in fact dressed very casually, so I didn’t feel so bad. But I look at the pictures we got from that day and see us all wearing jeans. I wish I hadn’t allowed myself to be talked out of my dress pants.

    • Terri, thanks for sharing your experience — it helps to know others who have trod this path before me! I tend to agree with you, dress pants probably would look better in the pictures than jeans. I know winter commencements tend to be less “formal,” but I can’t imagine ND parents wearing jeans. I’m toying with dress pants, dress skirt, or dress. I’ve seen some pretty things on my shopping trips, but haven’t zeroed in on anything thus far. Regardless of what you wear, the big thing is being there to support your kid!!

  9. Pingback: And This is Why Shopping is Hard Work | Musings by an ND Domer's Mom

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