12 Cute Graduation Looks That Are Actually Practical

Diploma-ready dresses and tumble-free shoes

Graduation season is upon us. Whether you’re graduating from high school or college, this day symbolizes achievement and moving on to the next chapter of your life—which is the perfect reason to get dressed up. If for no other reason, think of all the photo opportunities that await you.

However, commencement ceremonies tend to take place in the least heel-friendly locations—from football fields to stages with sketchy, narrow steps—so when it comes to shoes, you’ll want to wear something practical. Stilettos can sink into soggy grass (which could prove to be disastrous) and shoes without ankle support make stairs hard to navigate. Opt for stability with some added height, like wedges or block heels; the thicker the heel, the better. When it comes to the dress, you won’t be seeing it until after the ceremony, so avoid wearing anything too long that may awkwardly peek out from your gown.

Once your diploma is in hand and caps are tossed, the gowns come off—meaning it’s time to celebrate. We rounded up the cutest dress and shoe combinations so you can look your very best (and avoid taking a tumble). 

Click through the gallery below to take a look at our picks.

Cheap Monday, Mev Dress, $50, available at Need Supply; Kelsi Dagger, Madge $160, available at Kelsi Dagger.

Shilla, Master Print Midi Bodycon Dress, $159.95, available at ShillaAldo, Dalias, $80, available at Aldo.

Wylder, In Your Eyes Playsuit, $66, available at 8th Story; Intentionally Blank, Dansk Wedge Sandal, $170, available at The Dreslyn.

BCBG, Lanna High-Low Draped Ruffle Dress, $198, available at BCBG; Chloe, Knotted Leather Sandal, $795, available at Net-A-Porter.

Stylestalker, Empire Dress, $198, available at Stylestalker; Urban Outitters, Valerie Heel, $69, available at Urban Outfitters.

H&M, Pleated Halterneck Dress, $49.99, available at H&M; Soludos, Gladiator Lace Up Wedge, $129, available at Soludos.

Acler, Langford Dress, $500, available at Acler; Sam Edelman, Yardley Lace-Up Sandal, $120, available at Sam Edelman.

The Jetset Diaries Leopardo Short Dress, $179, available at The Jetset Diaries; ASOS, Hexagaon Embellished Heeled Sandals, $73, available at ASOS.

Motel Rocks, Nude Strappy Mini Dress, $60, available at NYLONshopBarneys New York, Kabuki Platform Wedge Sandals, $275, available at Barneys.

Forever 21, Crisscross Open-Shoulder Dress, $24.90, available at Forever 21; Loeffler Randall, Piper High Wedge Sandal, $350, available at Loeffler Randall.

Keepsake, Stand Still Dress, $190, available at Fashion Bunker; STEVEN by Steve Madden, Voomme, $109.95, available at Steve Madden.

Zara, Printed Dress With Shoulder Opening, $69.90, available at ZaraCalvin Klein ‘Cimi’ Block Heel Sandal, $98.95, available at Calvin Klein.