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What to Wear


Are there any substitutions for caps and gowns?

The only approved substitution for academic regalia is full military dress.

Where can I purchase regalia?

Official WVU regalia is available at the WVU Bookstore locations and online at Herff Jones. Please purchase all caps, gowns, tassels and hoods prior to Commencement. No regalia will be sold at the venue.

Where can I find honor cords, stoles, medallions, etc.?

  • The University will provide cords for Latin Honors and military:
    • Undergraduates who have earned cum laudemagna cum laude or summa cum laude honors will be presented with an honor cord from their school or college prior to Commencement.
    • Military honor cords may be obtained by service members who show proof of service at the WVU Veterans Office. Graduating military personnel who choose to wear full military dress to their commencement ceremony may obtain these cords as a keepsake from WVU in tribute for their service.
  • Cords and stoles may be used by academic programs, registered student organizations, University recognized honor societies, and members of West Virginia University athletic teams. Cords should not replicate the design of those provided by the University for Latin Honors, military, or other previously approved stoles or cords.
    • Athletic stoles will be presented to seniors competing in NCAA-level sports by Intercollegiate Athletics.
    • Rainbow cords will be presented at Lavender Celebration by the LGBTQ+ Center. These cords can also be worn at University commencement ceremonies.
  • Medallions may be awarded for academic purposes only. For example, Honors and Order of Augusta.
  • Students may wear a maximum of five honor cords, medallions, or stoles.
  • Any adornments given by academic organizations will be distributed by those organizations.

Requests for consideration of any new cords or stoles not previously approved by the Provost’s office should be sent to for consideration by 60 days prior to the Commencement ceremony date. The use of University indicia, logos or brand marks must be approved by the Brand and Trademark Licensing office and produced by a WVU licensee. Requests can be sent to

Unapproved adornments are not permitted.

What color tassel or hood do I wear with my gown?

The color guide will help you identify the correct color selection for tassels and hoods. If your specific major is not listed, staff at the WVU Bookstore can assist you. You may also contact your school or college for guidance.

What if I’m receiving more than one degree?

If you are a double major, you should wear the color of the highest degree you are receiving. If your degrees are of equal ranking, wear the color of the group with whom you identify with the most.

What college should I participate with if my degree is shared by two colleges?

Graduates who are earning a collaborative degree (i.e. BS Biochemistry - Eberly and Davis; and BA Interactive Design for Media - Reed and Creative Arts ) should choose to participate with the college you identify with the most.

What alterations to the gown are allowed?

Gowns should fall below the knees and above the ankles, about 8-10 inches from floor. Sleeves should measure below your elbow and above your wrist. Any alterations aside from the approved guidelines may jeopardize your participation.

What attire should I wear beneath my gown?

Dressing in lightweight layers is advised. Comfortable shoes are highly recommended!