Ironing out the issues of graduation attire
For generations, high school and college seniors rented caps and gowns for graduation days. Like rented formalwear, these garments were usually dry cleaned and returned to the rental shop or the school for return.
Unlike sturdy judicial robes, ministerial apparel, choir robes, or traditional academic regalia (such as the garments academic faculty members might wear for convocation or commencement), most modern-day graduation robes are considered practically disposable.
Purchasing a graduation attire package
Today’s graduating senior (or his or her family) is generally expected to purchase a package including the graduation gown, the mortarboard cap, and the graduation tassel. The graduation tassel usually comes with a little dangling charm, indicating the class year. It may also include a likeness of the school’s logo or mascot.
Usually, the entire graduating senior class will obtain matching graduation caps and gowns. In some cases, young men and young women will wear complementary colors. Those who graduate with academic honors may also sport gold cords, special commemorative sashes, and other appropriate accoutrements.
Parents pose proudly with their graduates for commencement day photographs, so it’s especially important for these garments to look polished and presentable.
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Removing wrinkles from graduation gowns
Manufacturers and retailers claim the graduation gown fabrics are crease-resistant, but any graduate knows otherwise. Because graduation attire is usually shrink-wrapped for shipping, either to graduates’ homes or to schools for distribution, the robes usually tend to arrive with fairly firm folds and creases.
Graduation gowns are most often made of acetate or polyester in either a shiny or matte finish. These synthetic textiles are extremely flammable. In fact, they melt easily, so steam ironing is out of the question for graduation gowns.
The best solution for ensuring a graduation gown will be wrinkle-free in time for the commencement ceremony is to hang it up neatly as soon as it arrives. A padded hanger is ideal, but a plastic or wooden hanger will also work well. Metal hangers may snag the touchy fabric, so these ought not to be used for a graduation gown.
Ideally, the graduation gown should be placed on a hook (still on a hanger) in the family bathroom and left there for several steamy showers. The fabric should not get wet, as colors may run and streak. Still, a bit of atmospheric steam may loosen any wrinkles in the graduation gown.
Once the graduation gown looks neat and wrinkle-free, it should be placed on an open hook or in an open doorway, so that it will not be crowded or crunched by other garments. On graduation day, the robe may be transported to the commencement ceremony location on the hanger, suspended from an appropriate hook in the vehicle. This will keep the robe much neater and fresher than actual wearing will do.
Saving graduation attire after commencement
Some seniors will keep their graduation gowns after the formal proceedings are over. The robe may be placed in a coat hanger in a closet or wardrobe, or it may be folded and tucked away as a souvenir.
Most graduates will retain the mortarboard caps they wore for commencement. Virtually all will tuck away the tassels, perhaps placing them in keepsake boxes or scrapbooks with their graduation invitations and programs or even dangling the tassels from the rear-view mirrors of their cars.
In time, the graduation ceremony itself will be a wrinkled memory, and a wrinkled keepsake robe will no longer be an issue.
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