The outfit that signifies a graduate is the traditional cap and gown. The use of the graduation gown began in the 12th century. At this time no sufficient heating systems existed in universities. Therefore scholars were forced to try and keep warm during their ceremonies. Graduates started wearing long robes with hoods to prevent being cold. Later on in that century gowns were made the official attire of academics.
Today, it is custom in most high schools that males wear the school color, while female students wear white. The gown should fall midway between the knee and ankle.
The graduation cap also has roots in this time period. The cap is sometimes called a mortarboard because of the resemblance it has to a tool used by masons to hold mortar. The caps became popular in the 14th and 15th centuries and were worn my artists and students. These hats were used to signify superiority and intelligence. At this time the caps were commonly red in color to signify blood and life.
Caps vary in color depending upon the institution today. In present day commencement ceremonies, the cap should be worn flat on the head and parallel to the floor. The front point of the cap should be centered on the forehead.