army graduation and how to dress

How to Dress for Army Graduation Ceremonies

I receive many emails each week from Army wives and Army moms wondering what they should wear to their soldier’s graduation ceremony.

First, congratulations to your soldier (and you!) for making it to this point. Graduation from any military course or school is a great accomplishment.

Of course, your soldier will appreciate that his family is there to witness his rite of passage as he moves on to more training or his new unit.

From Casual to Dressy

When attending any military graduation ceremony, you will see people dressed from one extreme to the other.

At my husband’s graduation from OSUT at Ft Benning, Georgia (now called Ft Moore), some people were very nicely dressed (overly so, in my opinion), some looked like they had just rolled out of bed, and there was a little of everything between those two.

The lesson? No need to worry about being over or underdressed. No matter how you dress, you will fit in with others. And honestly, there isn’t a single person there who is looking at anyone other than their soldier!

Dress for the Weather

For basic training graduation and OSUT, your soldier will be in his dress uniform. I always advise you to wear something comfortable and dress for the weather.

If he is graduating in Georgia, be sure to check the weather right before you leave. There can be wild fluctuations in temperature from one day to the next, especially as seasons change. A few days ago, it was 80 degrees here; this morning, it was in the 20s.

Yes, your soldier would love to see you in a cute, short strapless dress. But you’ll quickly regret that decision if it’s 30 degrees outside. A nice, simple dress or even jeans with a nice top are perfectly acceptable for graduation.

Remember that most military graduation ceremonies are outdoors, so you’ll be exposed to the weather. You will also most likely be sitting on metal bleachers, and they will reflect whatever the temperature is. Bring something to sit on and leave the white pants or skirt at home.

Be Mindful of Your Shoes

Finally, I always give this advice somewhat jokingly and somewhat completely seriously.

It will have been many weeks by the time you attend graduation since you last saw your soldier. You’ll have a large grassy and sandy field between you and your soldier when they finally announce family is welcome on the field.

If you’re wearing high heels, it will take much more time to get to him! Always keep that in mind when you’re choosing your shoes for the day.

Congratulations, and don’t forget to take lots of pictures! Check out our other Army graduation ceremony tips.

author avatar
Stacey Abler
Stacey's husband joined the Army in 2003 and was medically retired after four deployments. She enjoys sharing her experiences and expertise around Army life while continuing to support Army spouses and families in their military journey.

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  1. Hi! My boyfriend is graduating at Fort Benning in about two months. I was planning on wearing Sunday dress since it is a big day for him but considering heels probably aren’t the best idea what do you think would be a good outfit to wear since I don’t want to wear jeans. Also would he be allowed to leave base after the ceremony?

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