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February 3, 2020 | By justin

10 Things You Need to Know About Graduation Stoles

It's more than just an accessory!

Whether you are graduating this year or years from now, graduation stoles are something every student will become familiar with throughout college. We may all know what they look like, where to buy them, and what to use them for, but there is a lot more to unpack about these special accessories that not every student knows. Here are 10 interesting facts you need to know about graduation stoles and sashes!

1) Graduation stoles and graduation sashes are the same thing

You may have heard the two words - stoles and sashes - be used when describing graduation attire. But don’t worry, both are essentially referring to the same thing, as most places that offer stoles or sashes have the same design - fabric that drapes on the shoulders, rather than across the body.

Photo credit: shawncalhoun on VisualHunt / CC BY-NC

2) Stoles used to be worn by priests

Stoles didn’t initially have an academic beginning! Before they were used for graduation ceremonies, they were actually worn by Catholic and Anglican priests in the 12th century, and were used to denote an official’s position. Over time, English scholars in the medieval times used them as a way to distinguish scholars.

3) Different colors mean different things

While these days, your stole can be of any color of your choosing, different stole colors can also signify different studies. They are helpful if you are having trouble deciding which color suits you:
  • White: Humanities, Arts, English, etc.
  • Beige: Business
  • Green: Medicine, Pharmacy and Physical Education
  • Orange: Engineering
  • Brown: Fine Arts and Architecture
  • Gray: Husbandry and Veterinary Science
  • Light Blue: Education
  • Pink: Music
  • Purple: Law
  • Yellow: Science and Mathematics
  • Dark Blue: Philosophy and Political Science
Two students wearing matching graduation stoles

Two graduating students wearing matching graduation stoles | Photo courtesy of Jr. Pecache

4) Most standard stoles are made from satin, which requires cleaning care

Satin fabric is a smooth, glossy silk fabric. This is important to keep in mind as you are going to want to make sure it’s washed delicately. If your stole ends up getting dirty before your graduation or photo shoots, it’s highly recommended to machine wash stoles using the “delicate” cycle.

Blue and gold flat graduation stole or sash    

5) Different cultures have different fabrics for their stole or sash

You don’t have to settle with getting a simple satin stole. There are a wide variety of fabric options for people to represent their cultural identity, including filipino grad stoles, kente stoles, serape stoles, and Native American stoles!

Serape fabric used to make a graduation stole

Serape stole fabric

6) Grad Stoles have endless customization options

Not finding a stole style that you want? Colors and text aren’t the only thing that can be added onto a stole. If you are looking to create your own, you can embroider logos of your clubs, have text denoting your academic achievements, or even have your family’s name on it!

7) Stoles have pockets

Not all graduation gowns may come equipped with easy-access pockets, which can be difficult if you are trying to contact your family after the ceremony. But many stoles are designed to have pockets on the other side - perfect for securing your phone and wallet!

8) Stoles and cords serve different purposes

Many often confuse stoles and cords, as while they essentially serve the same purpose, cords are more geared towards academic achievements and awards. Stoles, on the other hand, can be just about anything you want it to be - student organizations, cultural identity, etc. Additionally, cords can easily be stacked atop each other, whereas stacking stoles is less than ideal, as you won’t be able to see the other stoles hidden beneath each other, which is why it’s standard to wear one stole.

Graduating student wearing both a cord and a graduation stole

Student posing with cords and stole | Photo courtesy of Jr. Pecache

 

9) Stoles or sashes are optional - but 100% recommended!

A majority of schools don’t require stoles to be worn at the ceremony. Many choose not to wear them, but a vast amount of students prefer to have them, as not only does it help them display their achievements and groups they were involved with, but it’s also a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity they can’t turn down.

Group of students wearing their graduation stoles A group of graduating students wearing matching graduation stoles | Photo courtesy of Breanna Parks

10) You can design and order your graduation sash in just minutes!

CollegeWear, Inc. offers a variety of resources to help find the stole just for you! If you’re graduating this year, or know somebody that is, try out our stole design app! We can help create the perfect accessory for the perfect day.

 

Think you are ready to graduate? Learn more about the stoles you can order from us here!

Header image courtesy of Jr. Pecache

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