For Girls, is Graduating in White Outdated?


Julie Blazar

As graduation draws closer, attire has become a major topic of discussion among the senior girls, who question the School’s tradition of requiring white dresses.

In fact, it’s surprisingly hard to find the ideal all-white dress, as many veer toward the bridal end of the spectrum. Most would prefer to hold off on this purchase until that other special day. In addition, most boys presumably already have a dark suit, which they are required to wear. Even if they don’t, they are more likely to make repeated use of their new purchase.

To be fair, a graduation dress code is not unique to Brimmer. Many other schools require traditional graduation regalia. Under the gown, though, students are allowed to wear less formal attire (similar to something students might wear on a dress day), making them feel more comfortable.

It’s important for students to feel comfortable. Graduation is a big and exciting day. Seniors want to look their best and have a memorable experience, and what they wear plays a big role in making this a reality.

Director of Alumni Affairs and Special Events Amanda Frank ’88 says that graduating in white symbolizes “welcoming girls into womanhood,” and that the tradition has existed for as long as she can recall, going at least as far back as the merger of the Brimmer School and the May School in 1939—and well before the community became fully coed in 1997.

As a female senior set to graduate June 3, I like the idea behind the tradition of wearing white. The community wants to celebrate its graduates’ transition into adulthood, while acknowledging the School’s rich history. However, I also feel that in 2016, Brimmer and May might consider striking a balance between being reflective of today while respecting the past.

Either way, I’m grateful that I have been a part of the Brimmer community. Regardless of what I’m wearing on graduation day, I’ll always be thankful for my experience here.