What do I wear to grad orientation?

Grad orientation may be the most stressful outfit choice you make all year–because you’ve never met your department before, so you have no idea what the norms are (unless you can rack your brain about visit weekend). Also, it’s realllly hot out right now, which led to me choosing shorts for day 1 of my MA orientation. And then we took a department picture. And I was front and center on the website. And my mom has never let me forget it.

There’s nothing wrong with shorts, I was just the only person in them. So here are some other outfit combos that can keep you cool while being a step above that, just to make sure the first day goes smoothly:

1) Semi-businessy dresses

Basically the only thing I want to wear right now are dresses that are ambiguous enough to go anywhere. Here are a few good ones.

J. Crew Factory is making some really pretty midi dresses right now, which I love for teaching and grad student-ing because I never have to worry if they’re the right level of coverage. This puff sleeve one would transition well for fall. in this color. This tee shirt dress would look polished and practical with sneakers if anyone is planning to drag you on a campus tour.

2) Not a dress person? Try some fancy joggers.

I now own a pair of linen joggers and am here to tell you they are the most comfortable way to wear pants in the summer. Target makes an affordable pair, or this wide leg pair could be so cool! I love my joggers with a tee and sneakers. If you’re worried about how formal your department is, sandals and a nice blouse would be a good pick!

3) Sleeveless button ups

Not only are they useful under suit jackets later so you don’t overheat, they’re a nice way to look slightly dressier at orientation but not overdo it! H&M makes good basics like this. If you want to make them last I definitely recommend air drying and looking for good fabric choices like all cotton or cotton-linen blends (it’s more breathable in the summer).

Orientation can feel like a lot the first year! But it’s also a fun start to knowing your cohort, meeting professors, and (sometimes) starting to teach. Good luck and have fun!

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