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Attire and Flowers


Winter commencement ceremonies are ordinarily held indoors at TD Arena, and the dress code is black dresses for women and black tuxedos for men. At our spring commencement ceremonies, women wear white dresses and carry roses while men wear white dinner jackets. 


The tradition of carrying roses at graduation goes back to at least the 1930s! Flowers can be ordered from the College Bookstore. Women traditionally carry bouquets of six red roses tied with a red bow ($23.50); the boutonniere for men is a single red rose ($6.25). 

Roses may be picked up immediately prior to lining up for commencement; flowers must be preordered and will not be sold on commencement day.

Attire/Flowers FAQs

The traditional attire for College of Charleston graduates is a tux for men (black pants, white dinner jacket (May) or black pants and black jacket (December), bow tie and cummerbund) and a white dress for women.  Men wear a red rose boutonniere and women carry six long-stemmed red roses.

Q: Do I have to be born male to wear a tux? 
A:  No, you do not have to have been born male to wear a tux.  

Q: I’m female/male; can I wear slacks? A skirt? 
A:  You may wear a white skirt or white pants if you prefer. (May) You may wear a black skirt or black pants if you prefer. (December)

Q: Can I wear military attire?
A:  Yes, you may wear your dress military uniform.

Q: Can I wear clothes that reflect my cultural/ethnic tradition?
A:  Yes, you may wear clothing that reflects your cultural or ethnic tradition (i.e. a Kimono, a Burka, a Sari, a Kilt, etc.).   NOTE:  Anyone wearing a kilt must wear underwear.

Q: Does my tie have to be black? Can I wear another color or print (tie/cummerbund)?
A:  Ties and cummerbunds can be other colors or prints.

Q: What kind of shoes do most ladies/men wear?  What can I wear?  What’s best to wear?
A:  You need to wear shoes that are appropriate and comfortable.  Please remember, you will be walking up and down several sets of stairs (Maybank Hall, Randolph Hall and the stage all have stairs), so make sure you can comfortably and safely walk up and down stairs.  You should practice walking in your shoes before the day of the ceremony and make sure the soles of your shoes are not slick.

Q: Can I bring my own flowers?  Does it have to be red roses?  Do I have to purchase them at the bookstore? Can I wear flowers in my hair?
A:  Yes, you can bring your own flowers; flowers do not have to be red roses.  You do not have to purchase flowers from the bookstore.  The bookstore only offers red roses for the women and red rose boutonnieres for the men.  If you want to wear flowers in your hair, you may do so.