Thousands of people up and down the country will be eagerly awaiting one of the most important days of their lives, graduating.

Graduating from university is something that will stay with you for life, it is a celebration of all the hard work you have put in over the past few years.

You might be aware of and have seen the traditional dress already, for example, a picture in your house somewhere showing your mum or dad's graduation.

Things haven't changed much since then in terms of dress, but one thing might have, the cost.

It can be very expensive to hire a gown for the day, least of all buy one outright.

Are you forced to wear one? What happens if you can't afford one? Well, we've taken the time to try and answer that for you.

Graduation gown rules

Most universities will have a graduation dress code available on their website, and even if yours does not it is worth checking out others for ideas and guidance on what to wear.

Generally, the dress code does mean you have to wear an academic gown and sometimes a cap, which you need to order from a shop approved by the university before graduating.

Sometimes you can hire these rather than buy, this saves a lot of money.

However, all universities will change their own fees, there is not a general blanket price for a gown.

Underneath your gown

Under your graduation gown students are most typically expected to wear a suit, dress, or similarly smart clothing. 

Occasionally at some universities, students are expected to wear white bowties and academic bands, so check if this is needed for your university if you are wearing a suit.

If you choose to wear a dress or skirt, ensure that it is not too short and is comfortable to wear for long periods of time. 

Going for a mid-length or cocktail-style dress is advisable as it can be very warm in graduation halls, and students are usually expected to wear black- or neutral-coloured tights.

If you are wearing a national dress, again it is important to ensure that you will not get too warm during the ceremony, and that your robe will fit with your outfit.

Wearing a uniform means it is key to check what ceremonial badges and cords are required, which can be found from your university.

Surrey Comet: If you are attending as a friend or family member of the graduate, wear smart clothing (Getty)If you are attending as a friend or family member of the graduate, wear smart clothing (Getty) (Image: Getty)

What happens if you can't afford a gown?

Every university should cater to this potential problem, yet sadly not all do.

The London School of Economics however is one example of a university catering to the less financially fortunate.

There are support funds called the GGSF (Graduation Gown Support Fund) that are designed to cover the graduation cap and gown hire costs for students unable to afford them.

All students scheduled to graduate in the graduation ceremony are eligible to apply for the GGSF.

In order for an application to be successful, applicants will need to demonstrate that they are currently unable to afford the cap and gown hire costs.

Email your university to check if they offer this type of bursary.