The tradition of wearing a doctoral hat and gown when dismissed goes back to the Middle Ages. In the meantime, the custom and the style have changed a bit, but you still want to cut a good figure on the stage of the graduation ceremony. Even if this tradition is not common in Germany and is more represented in countries like America or Great Britain, it can't hurt to know how exactly you wear a doctoral hat and what the position of the tassel is all about. There are differences, depending on the region, school or university and field of study.
Method 1 of 3: Put on the mortarboard
Step 1. Put the hat on so that it is facing forward
The square top of the hat should be worn in a diamond shape with a point pointing forward. Since it is sometimes difficult to distinguish the front and back of the hat, just remember that the side with the elastic should always be at the back.
- Adjust the hat so that the front of the hat, i.e. the tip of the square part, sits in the middle of your forehead.
- If you're unsure which is the front and which is the back of the hat, check the brim of the hat. Often the manufacturer has noted there instructions on how to wear the hat.
Step 2. Make sure your hat fits evenly
When the hat is on your head, the flat, square section should be straight and even with the floor. If your hat is crooked, straighten it until everything is straight. Make sure that the band that runs across your forehead is even and straight and about 2-3cm above your eyebrows.
- Don't wear the hat too far forward, but also not too far back, and make sure that it doesn't slide to one side.
- To test whether your hat is straight, place a light object on top of it and see whether it slips down or stays straight. If you want to be super accurate, you can of course use a spirit level.
Step 3. Attach the tassel
The tassel is the pompom that hangs down from the center of the top of the hat. If the hat has a tassel that cannot be removed or the tassel is not already attached, you will need to attach it yourself. All you have to do is pull the loop of the tassel over the small button in the middle of the hat. The tassel should be able to move freely without detaching from the button.
Gently pull the tassel once or twice after you attach it to make sure it's tight enough
Step 4. Position the tassel correctly
At the beginning of the ceremony, the tassel should fall to your right and after all students have been called, you all change the tassel to the left, which is supposed to symbolize the transition from student to graduate. Of course, this only applies if your university has not made any other specifications regarding the Quast.
- Some universities have different requirements, so make sure you know what traditions your university has. Preferably before the ceremony, of course.
- Position the tassel so that it is not constantly in your field of vision, then you are not tempted to play with it because of nervousness.
Step 5. Leave the hat on for the duration of the ceremony
Once you have your mortarboard and gown on, try not to fumble with them as much. They may not be super comfortable and a bit strange, but you only have to wear them for an hour or two. When it's time to take off your hat, do it in style: fresh graduates mostly toss their hats in the air at the end of the ceremony - as you know from American films.
- Resist the temptation to take your hat off during the ceremony. Except, of course, when the American national anthem is sung.
- Instead of throwing your hat in the air, you can of course leave it on if you want to take pictures after the ceremony or if you just borrowed your hat and gown.
Method 2 of 3: Look good
Step 1. Make sure to purchase the correct size hat and gown
Most manufacturers have size charts with measurements that you can use to ensure that everything fits perfectly. The hat should be snug, but not too tight. Of course, not too big either, so if your hat slips it's probably a size too big.
- Measure your head circumference with a tape measure and compare the result with the manufacturer's table to get an idea which size is right for you.
- If your hat and / or gown doesn't fit properly, it's best to bring them back straight away or exchange them. So you still have enough time to get a replacement.
Step 2. Try wearing your hat and gown at home
This gives you an impression of what your entire outfit will look like in the end and whether everything fits. It's the easiest way to make small changes and get used to how it feels.
The more often you wear the hat beforehand, the more you get used to it and you can confidently step onto the stage on the day of the celebration
Step 3. Style your hair so that it fits under the hat
Those with short hairstyles get away with it with little effort and styling. If you have longer hair, you can experiment with ponytails, curls, or braids. It is only important that the hairstyle or the braid is not too high on the head so that the hat still has enough space on your head without covering your hairstyle.
- If you want to try an elegant style, curl your hair and pin it up so that you can still see it under your hat.
- It's best to avoid very complicated updos and hairstyles with a lot of volume.
Step 4. Put the hat on last
Wait with the hat on until you have on the gown and stole and all other possible outfit components. So you can straighten your hat, your hair and your make-up without having to worry that something will slip. The hat is the icing on the cake for your graduation outfit.
Some gowns are cut so that you have to pull them over your head, which can be difficult if you put your hat on beforehand
Step 5. Decorate your hat
At some universities it is allowed to decorate the hat and give it something of your personality. For example, you can add a few buttons and pearls or pendants or, of course, take out your full handicraft equipment and make a statement with glitter and textile markers. Graduation is an important day in your life so enjoy it and have fun.
- For example, you can use fabric paint and other accessories in the colors of your university.
- Write a special message or quote that you like on the hat. Even if you and your fellow students can't really see it during the ceremony, the audience will see it.
- Ask your university beforehand whether such changes to your doctoral cap are allowed and what rules there are in relation to this.
Method 3 of 3: Maintain the doctoral cap
Step 1. Keep the hat safe until you need it
The best way to keep your hat from getting dirty or damaged is to only take it out when you need it. Keep the hat in the box you got it in and it's best to store it on a shelf or on top of your closet. The cardboard prevents your hat from gathering dust and cannot fade or become damp. And if you store it high up, dangers such as pets or small children should also be averted.
- Handle the hat carefully. When you pick it up and down, or pick it up, carefully grasp two corners.
- Once you have your hat and gown, hang them on hangers to keep them from wrinkling.
Step 2. Comb the tassel
The whole movement can cause the tassels of the tassel to get tangled. Just go through it a few times with your fingers to get everything tidy again. It's best to do this just before you put your hat on.
You can of course brush the tassel as often as you want, but it's best to do it right before you put your hat on. So everything fits perfectly when you go on stage at the ceremony
Step 3. Make sure your hat is clean
There shouldn't be a reason you need to do a great cleaning of your hat before the ceremony, but if you do, use a steam cleaner or low iron. You should never put the hat in the washer or dryer, as this can damage the fabric or the hat can lose its shape.
- It's better to remove light dirt or dust by hand before using other materials that can damage the fabric.
- It is best not to leave your hat lying around unattended, or where it can get dirty quickly.
- To keep your hat from slipping or when it's windy, you can secure it with a couple of bobby pins.
- Using a few hair styling products before putting on your hat can save your hair from looking like a bird's nest once you take your hat off.
- If you need to iron your gown or hat, place a thin piece of fabric between the iron and the gown, such as a pillowcase, and use the lowest setting of the iron. This is how you avoid material damage.
- It is best not to keep your gown and hat in your car or locker.
- If your gown and hat are made from synthetic fabrics such as polyester or rayon, it is best not to iron them.