Video guides with simple tips for graduates on how to wear academic attire correctly.

photo: student in cap and gown smiling with confetti

The caps, gowns, and hoods worn by grads today are patterned after the attire of monks and students in the Middle Ages—so it makes sense if you're not quite sure how the whole look is meant to fit together. Below are videos with simple tips for wearing academic attire correctly, whether you're receiving a bachelor's, master's, or doctoral degree. (Hint: if the elastic is in the front, your cap is on backwards.) You worked hard to get to Commencement Day—now flaunt it! Special thanks to our academic attire provider, Herff Jones.

Bachelor's Edition

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  1. Hang up the gown to prevent wrinkles.
  2. Steam before wearing to remove any stubborn creases.
  3. The hem should fall below your knees and above your ankles, regardless of whether you're wearing heels.
  4. If the elastic is in the front, you're wearing your cap backwards.
  5. The cap should come down to about an inch above your eyebrows.
  6. The mortarboard should be level and parallel to the floor.
  7. The tassel hangs on your right side, near your temple.
  8. Now you're ready to graduate!

Master's Edition

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  1. Hang up the gown to prevent wrinkles.
  2. Steam before wearing to remove any stubborn creases.
  3. Slip your hands through the sleeve openings and let the long portion hang down.
  4. The hem should fall below your knees and above your ankles, regardless of whether you're wearing heels.
  5. Place the hood around your neck and shoulders so that it hangs down your back.
  6. Secure the hood by using the cord or a safety pin to fasten it to a shirt button or the inside of your gown.
  7. The color of the velvet on the hood corresponds to your field of study and the violet satin lining represents NYU—make sure both show!
  8. Fasten the cord on the back to keep the hood from slipping off your shoulders.
  9. If the elastic is in the front, you're wearing your cap backwards.
  10. The cap should come down to about an inch above your eyebrows.
  11. The mortarboard should be level and parallel to the floor.
  12. The tassel hangs on your right side, near your temple.
  13. Now you're ready to graduate!

Doctoral Edition

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  1. Hang up the gown to prevent wrinkles.
  2. Steam before wearing to remove any stubborn creases.
  3. The hem should fall below your knees and above your ankles, regardless of whether you're wearing heels.
  4. Place the hood around your neck and shoulders so that it hangs down your back.
  5. Fasten the cord on the back to keep the hood from slipping off your shoulders.
  6. Secure the hood by using the cord or a safety pin to fasten it to a shirt button or the inside of your gown.
  7. The tam should come down to about an inch above your eyebrows.
  8. Now you're ready to graduate!