New Trier’s future of graduation attire

Change in graduation guidelines beautifully ties together past and future.


Graduating seniors in long white dresses walk in 2022 graduation in front of many fans and cameras

In an era of modernism at New Trier, students find that many traditions the school has followed for decades are rapidly changing. There was the shift from nine-period days to a block schedule, gray days to anchor days, “turnabout” to “trevapalooza”, single to mixed-gender advisories; the list goes on. However, one of the most significant changes made to life as a Trevian was the change in the graduation dress code. 

New Trier is well-known for its unique and classy graduation experience. Traditionally, girls wore long white gowns, essentially wedding gowns, and boys wore white tuxedos. However, in recent years the attire guidelines have loosened for the better. Now, while still expected to be in the traditional colors of black and white, students can wear pantsuits, tuxedos, dresses, jumpsuits, and more. 

The alteration of the attire guidelines is beneficial as it respects all students’ opinions and desires while maintaining some sense of tradition and class in the event. 

Shopping for a traditional white dress that follows the strict dress code – such as no spaghetti straps, a closed back, and nothing too low-cut – is no piece of cake. Especially when more than half of the white dresses out there resemble a wedding gown more than they do a high school graduation dress. Trust me, a dress that is both unique and fits into the strict category that was the graduation dress code, is nearly impossible to come by. 

Changing the dress code allows for more variety in attire, making it easier for students to choose their wardrobes for the special occasion.

Along with this, more choice for self-expression is available. Students can express their interests and identities on a special day such as graduation, and that is something to be valued. Boundaries for the attire have been extended, and this encourages and supports those who wish to express themselves further through their clothes. 

The most important aspect of this attire transition is its perpetuation of tradition while also respecting and going along with modernism. Graduation is a timeless, classic event. It is something that deserves some sort of structure and tradition. Nonetheless, New Trier beautifully respected this tradition while extending the guidelines to allow more room for self-expression on this special day.