What To Wear To Basic Training Graduation

What To Wear To Basic Training Graduation: 7 Outfit Ideas

Last Updated on February 23, 2024 by Kimberlee Johnson

Completion of basic training is a major accomplishment for service members, signifying the conclusion of an arduous and life-altering phase.

But, before you step out to receive your diploma, there’s one important question you need to answer: what to wear to basic training graduation?

As someone who’s attended basic training graduation twice and spoken to military personnel and their families, I can tell you that figuring out what to wear can be a bit overwhelming. 

You want to look sharp and show your support, but you also don’t want to overstep boundaries or break rules. Don’t fret; we’ll provide the information necessary to choose the right outfit. 

7 Outfit Ideas To Wear For A Basic Training Graduation

1. Classic Military Chic

Man Wearing Cargo Pants

Show off your military-inspired style at your basic training graduation by pairing a crisp white button-up shirt and adding a pair of dark-colored cargo pants [1] or straight-leg trousers. 

Accessorize with a black belt, combat boots, and a beret or peaked cap. To take a look up a notch, add a neutral-colored jacket, such as a bomber or field jacket in olive green or black. 

2. Semi-Formal Elegance

Graduation ceremonies are a time for respect, but that doesn’t mean you can’t look stylish. 

For a semi-formal look, women can wear a knee-length dress in neutral colors like black, navy, or beige paired with simple but chic heels or flats. 

Add a clutch and minimal jewelry for a classic, sophisticated look. Men can opt for a dark suit, dress shirt, tie, and dress shoes. But what should you wear to a graduation as a male guest?

3. Smart Casual With A Twist

Put together a smart casual outfit with a twist. Start with a stylish blazer and patterned shirt, then add tailored slacks or chinos for a sleek silhouette. 

Accessorize with a stylish watch, a bold belt, or a vibrant pocket square to add a pop of color. 

“As long as you remain true to yourself and continue training with sincerity, nobody can stop you from achieving excellence.” 

Milkha Singh, Indian Track and Field Athlete

Finish off with polished loafers or lace-up shoes for a sophisticated, comfortable look and set to turn heads. Know what to wear for a grad party here.

4. Sophisticated Separates

Man Wearing Button up Shirt

Start with a clean white blouse or a structured button-up, and make it extra special with unexpected details like ruffled sleeves or a unique collar design. 

Balance the look with tailored trousers or a sleek A-line skirt in a complementary color, like navy or charcoal gray. 

Then, add a pop of color with statement accessories like a bold, chunky necklace or a vibrant pair of heels. But what will parents wear to a graduation ceremony?

5. Dapper Gentleman

For a polished and sophisticated look, start with a sharp and well-fitted suit in a classic color such as navy or black. 

“Your uniform may have symbolized your transformation into a soldier, but on graduation day, wear your heart on your sleeve and your pride in your smile.”

– Howkapow Gift Site

Put on a pair of polished leather dress shoes and a tie in a contrasting color to complete the look. 

To complete the look, ensure your hair is neatly trimmed, and your face is cleanly shaven or groomed with a well-groomed beard. 

6. Relaxed Yet Refined

A tailored blazer in a neutral color, such as beige or gray, is the perfect foundation for the outfit. Match it with some chinos in a complementary hue for a polished look. 

Then, pair it with a crisp white t-shirt and low-top sneakers for an effortlessly chic feel. Finally, complete the outfit with a leather watch and stylish sunglasses for a touch of personality.

7. Preppy Perfection

man Wearing Navy Blazer

Go for a timeless yet chic look with a crisp white or pastel-colored blouse, a tailored blazer in navy or beige, and a knee-length pleated or pencil skirt to accentuate your silhouette. 

Add a touch of modern flair with sleek, closed-toe pumps or loafers, and accessorize with a statement pearl necklace or a silk scarf for that quintessential preppy touch. 

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Tips & Tricks On How To Dress Up For The Occasion

  1. Follow the dress code: Begin by checking if specific dress codes or guidelines are provided by the military branch hosting the graduation. This information is often available on their official website or in the invitation. 
  2. Dress conservatively: A basic training graduation is a formal event that honors the hard work and dedication of the graduates. Choose attire that is conservative, modest, and respectful. Avoid revealing, flashy, or overly casual clothing.
  3. Choose business casual or semi-formal attire: For men, a suit or slacks with a dress shirt and tie, along with dress shoes, is appropriate. A dress, skirt with a blouse, or pantsuit suits women. Keep the colors neutral or subdued, and avoid overly bright or flashy patterns.
  4. Wear comfortable shoes: You may need to walk or stand for extended periods during the event, so choose comfortable, dressy shoes that won’t cause discomfort or pain.
  5. Keep accessories minimal: Wear simple, tasteful jewelry and accessories that complement your outfit. Avoid large, flashy pieces or anything considered distracting or disrespectful.
  6. Arrive well-groomed: Make sure your hair is neatly styled, and your nails are clean and well-manicured. Maintain good hygiene and avoid strong perfumes or fragrances [2], which can be distracting in close quarters.

Read: What’s The Reason Why People Wear White At Graduation?


Can I wear jeans to a military graduation?

Yes, it’s appropriate to wear jeans to a military graduation. It is important to dress respectfully, however, so choose an appropriate style of jeans.

How long will basic training graduation last?

Basic training graduation ceremonies typically last between 30-60 minutes. The size of the graduating class, however, can affect how long the ceremony lasts.

Let’s Sum It Up

Completing basic training is a once-in-a-lifetime accomplishment, so celebrating it properly is important. 

With our guide, you can select an outfit that looks sharp and appropriate and makes you feel confident and proud on this special day.

So, take your time picking out an appropriate outfit for your graduation, and be sure to appreciate this momentous day fully.


Kimberlee Johnson
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