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How to Wear Your Doctoral Regalia Set

Part of The PhD Guide Series

It’s time for graduation, and we want to make sure that you wear your beautiful regalia correctly. During my own graduation, I remember searching on Google for videos to try to figure out how to properly wear my gown. And since we often get this question here at PhinisheD Gown, we decided to share the instructions with you.

Under the gown

Most men wear a nice crisp dress shirt with a tie on top. A nice pair of slacks or khakis plus dress shoes complete the look. Ladies usually wear a summer dress and heels or flats. If your ceremony is on a grass field and you want to wear heels, make sure the heel points are wide enough that they don’t sink into the ground.

Graduation gown

Most doctoral graduation gowns are worn closed with a front zipper, except Stanford which has an open style. Your sleeve should sit around your wrists, and the bottom of the gown should be about 8-12" above the floor.

Doctoral Hood

To keep the hood secured in place, loop the string attached to the hood onto the button inside the gown near the top of the front zipper. Alternatively, you can loop the string onto your shirt’s button underneath the gown.

Once you have the hood on, have someone flip the part of the hood on your back inside out starting from the top. This reveals the hood lining color and shows off your school colors. To keep the hood in place, use the string to loosely tie the 2 buttons on the hood that should be sitting on your upper back.

If you are receiving your PhD degree, don’t wear your hood until after the hooding ceremony. During the hooding ceremony, you will be granted the degree and hooded by your department.


Wear the tam horizontally so that it is parallel to the ground and sits about an inch above the ears. Place the tassel on the left side of the tam (flipping the tassel is only for undergraduate degrees).


Have fun and celebrate your big day in style with PhinisheD Gown!

About Phinished Gown

We take pride in offering the highest quality regalia and great customer service. All the materials we use have been specifically chosen to closely match university designs and crafted into beautiful PhD regalia. We strive to make our doctoral regalia affordable to all PhD graduates so that you can celebrate your graduation day in style.