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16 best graduation dresses of 2021

Whether she's graduating elementary school or college, she'll be accepting her diploma in style.
Illustration of three Woman wearing graduation caps and gowns with visible dresses underneath
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/ Source: TODAY

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It's graduation season and schools around the country are getting ready to play "Pomp and Circumstance" on repeat as graduates of all ages prepare to accept their hard-earned diplomas. With so much to celebrate, it's time to start thinking about what the happy graduate in your life might like to wear on her special day, so Shop TODAY rounded up the following 16 options for elementary, middle, high school and college students.

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Dresses for elementary school graduates

Girls Clip Dot Ruffle Dress

Pretty in polka dots! Your little lady will look positively charming in this pastel dress. Our favorite detail is the back cutout and tiny bow, but the flutter sleeves and subtle ruffle detailing also rank highly on our list.

Knit Works Wrap Dress

This blush floral dress has a polished, yet boho vibe and a stylish high-low ruffle hem we simply adore.

Shein Girls Polka Dot Tie Shoulder Mesh Dress

Have a daughter who loves to dress up? Graduation offers her the perfect excuse to channel her inner princess with a pastel mint dress with mesh detailing and a flirty skirt she'll just love twirling around in.

Love, Nickie Lew Ruffle Sleeve Pocket Dress

Sometimes, simple is best, and this clean silhouette has just the right amount of flair thanks to its lovely ruffled shoulders. The fit-and-flare design comes in two colors — blue and black — and also has side pockets, which is a major bonus if you ask us.

Dresses for middle school graduates

H&M Flutter-Sleeved Dress

Whether she wears it with sandals and a cardigan or a denim jacket and canvas shoes, this is one dress your daughter will have lots of fun dressing up or down to suit her personality for that big middle school graduation ceremony.

UPF 50+ Girls Mini Sophie Ruffle Dress

Budding fashionistas will flip for this printed dress from Lilly Pulitzer that has details for days like adorable ruffled sleeves. It's made of a UPF 50 material that fends off harmful UV rays, meaning it's a practical investment your daughter can wear all summer while having fun in the sun.

Zara Sparkly Dotted Mesh Dress

Less is always more, and this cute yellow dress mixes casual and chic elements for an understated look that works equally well for graduation parties and playtime. The simple ribbed fabric offers plenty of comfort and the fabulous shimmer detailing on the translucent puff sleeves adds a touch of attitude.

H&M One-Shoulder Dress

It's a one-shoulder wonder! This affordable find from H&M has an asymmetrical ruffled neckline on one side and a thin shoulder strap on the other. The jersey dress comes in two patterns — floral or striped — and a flared skirt.

Dresses for high school graduates

BCX Floral-Print High-Low Dress

Perfect for the high school graduate who wants to make a real statement on her special day, this floral high-low dress has trendy cold-shoulder cutouts and a flirty ruffled neckline. The eye-catching yellow and blue print is totally cheery and fun, too.

B Darlin Lace-Trim Fit & Flare Dress

Know a teen who appreciates all the sophisticated things that life has to offer? A light blue fit-and-flare dress with subtle lace accents looks nice and elegant while maintaining an air of youthfulness. Plus, the price is right!

Ecowish Cap Sleeves A-Line Midi Dress

Searching for the perfect mix of chic and casual? A cap sleeve dress in a lightweight cotton material is nice and summery but can easily be dressed up for special occasions like graduation parties. This popular Amazon find (it has nearly 2,000 five-star ratings) comes in three colors — blue, white and black — and we're honestly tempted to buy one of each.

SO Maxi Dress

There are few wardrobe essentials that are quite as versatile as the maxi dress, and this budget-friendly one can be styled so many ways, depending on how formal a graduation ceremony is. It comes in four sunny prints, including our two favorite options: tropical blue and coral tile.

Dresses for college graduates

Sleeveless Lace Midi Dress

Lovely in lace! We can't take our eyes off this enchanting midi lace dress with adjustable spaghetti straps. You can choose from 10 colors, but we're pretty partial to the light blue and emerald green options.

Ellames Pleated Casual Swing Midi Dress

Looking for an easy, breezy dress that's ultra comfy? Consider your quest complete. This pleated swing dress is made of a soft chiffon and has plenty of breathing room. It comes in 25 colors and prints, but we're particularly crushing on the fuchsia and blue shades.

Woosea Cocktail Party Swing Dress

With a clean white backdrop like this swing dress, you can have lots of fun adding colorful accessories like belts, jewelry and shoes. We'd also be tempted to pair it with a colorful moto or denim jacket!

Old Navy Ruffled Tie-Belt Midi Wrap Dress

We're having a hard time deciding what we love more: this fun frock's gorgeous green floral print, the ruffled silhouette, the puffy sleeves or the comfy wrap fit. Thankfully, we don't have to choose, and we can't wait to slip into this statement maker.

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