Doctoral Gear 101

1/31/2020 4:40 pmUniversity Co-op

Doctoral Gear 101 


Graduation is right around the corner *cue screaming and crying* - but don’t worry!

We are here to walk you through every step of your Doctoral cap and gown ordering.


Step 1: Order early!!  

Doctoral cap and gown purchase orders are 10% off from February 17 - 21. Members save an extra 5% for a total of 15%!

Save yourself money and stress by taking care of this ASAP.


Important things to keep in mind:

Custom cap and gown purchase orders are made to order and NON-refundable. It will take approximately 6-8 weeks to produce and ship your custom order.

Also note, March 20th is the Doctoral Purchase deadline and April 17th is the Doctoral Rental deadline - you must order by then to avoid rush fees!


Step 2: Choose your gown

Most students are strongly encouraged to wear the UT Official while faculty opt for the Traditional. The University's Official custom cap and gown is the official outfit for all doctoral degree candidates.

Some schools are strict about students wearing the UT Official - double check with an advisor before you decide to purchase the Traditional cap and gown.

Here’s a side by side comparison of the two choices:







UT's Official Custom Doctoral Cap and Gown

This is the official cap and gown for all doctoral degrees.

The UT Official gown is a custom Madison-style robe made of a rich Dalton Crepe fabric.

The ensemble features:

  • A custom gown accented with gold embroidered UT towers on the front lapel.

  • Two pins embedded in the towers.

  • A matching velvet hood.  Unlike the traditional faculty gown, the hood will be the same style regardless of the doctoral degree.

  • A matching 6-corner velvet tam with a gold, metallic tassel.

    The UT Official cap and gown cannot be customized or modified in any way. You may purchase the items all together or individually.

    Traditional Cap and Gown

    This can be worn by graduates from any university.

    Customization includes:

    • Accent colored cording for your specialty or alma mater.

    • Choice between two gown styles and many fabric options.

    • Hood velvet in the color of your degree

    • Satin lining of the hood in the colors of your alma mater.

    • Choice between velvet tam or flat mortarboard.

    • Choice of velvet color, number of corners, and style of gold tassel on tam


    Step 3: Choose whether you would like to rent or buy


    Renting is always an option, but if you are pursuing a field in academia or are faculty we recommend you purchase. You will most likely be attending many graduations in the future, and the custom gowns are designed to last a lifetime, so it’s a one-time investment and will save you from going through a rental process each semester.





    UT Official

    You cannot rent the tam or pin set; you must buy them separately. Total is ~$250.


    Total comes out to ~$1,026


    The rental traditional gown will be a simplified outfit; a plain black robe with black velvet and bars. No customizations are available on a rental outfit. Rental pricing ranges from $59.99 to $87.99

    When you purchase the traditional set, there are a variety of options and customizations, so pricing can range anywhere from $604 to $1,150.





    Fabric Options:


      Material Description

    Regency Poplin


    65% Polyester

    35% Cotton

    • Lightweight
    • Breathable
    • Prone to wrinkling


     100% Polyester Gabardine 
    • Stain and wrinkle resistant
    • Fabric has a slight shiny sheen to it

    Dalton Crepe

     100% Polyester 
    • Durable
    • Lightweight
    • Wrinkle resistant
    • Our recommendation for a basic gown

    Peach Skin

     100% Polyester 
    • Extremely lightweight
    • Wrinkle resistant
    • Looks and feels like silk
    • Sheen is a very dark matte black

    Tropical Wool

     Dacron/Wool Blend 
    • Cool
    • Breathable
    • Fabric feels like a cotton blend



    100% PET Recycled Material

    • Luxurious feeling
    • Eco friendly
    • Elegant look
    • Lightweight
    • Cool


    Pricing for Fabric Options:


      Masters Regalia Doctoral Regalia
      Gown Master's Hood Mortarboard Jefferson Gown Madison Gown Doctoral Hood
    Regency Poplin $191 $106 $37 $402 $546 $129
    Venture $211 $126 $40 $500 $628 $155
    Dalton Crepe $267 $146 $43 $587 $711 $170
    Peach Skin $304 $165 $46 $618 $742 $185
    Tropical Wool $335 $175 $48 $639 $742 $196
    Roosevelt $335 $175 $48 $639 $742 $196


    Madison Style Gown vs Jefferson Style Gown

    Traditional doctoral gowns come in two styles, Madison and Jefferson. Both options will come with velvet panels along the zipper and velvet bars on the sleeves (for doctoral gowns).

    The Madison style Doctoral gown will have a gathered cuff sleeve. When you raise your hand for accepting (or giving!) a diploma, the cuffed sleeve will be visible. Overall, this style of gown is more ornate, with extra pleats (extra fabric), and a slit at the waistline for easy reach into your pockets beneath your gown. This style of gown is more expensive, but it more common because of the pocket and the cuffed sleeve.

    The Jefferson style gown has a loose bell sleeve. Visually, when your hands are down, the gowns will be very similar, but the Jefferson features less fabric overall and is a little lighter weight.


    Additional Options


    Color of Velvet

    The velvet panels on the gown and sleeves are available in PhD Blue velvet or Black Velvet. Both options are acceptable. We recommend making this decision based on your personal preference or what coordinates better with your tam, cords, or hood. Typical rental gowns at any university will have black velvet, so if you want to stand out, the PhD blue provides a nice pop of color.


    Optional Cording Accents

    This is our number one recommendation when purchasing your regalia! Adding cording around the velvet panels of your gown is a great way to personalize your order and to represent your discipline. You are able to choose whatever cording color you like, typically, graduates will choose the color of their discipline (light blue, for example, represents education) or their alma mater (Burnt Orange for the University of Texas!). You may also choose to add cording to your doctoral hood along the rim of the velvet or the rim of the hood itself. 

    • Cording for Gown: $71.00
    • Cording for Hood: $37.00


    Choose Your Hat

    Doctorates may choose between wearing a velvet tam or a mortarboard. 

    The mortarboard is the typical 4-corner flat cap worn by undergraduates when graduating, although the custom doctoral cap is fitted and will feature a gold tassel. Mortarboards are covered in the same fabric as your gown, pricing is listed in the gown fabric guide above.

    Velvet tams are more commonly worn by doctoral graduates – they are more comfortable and easier to wear. Tams are available in black or PhD blue velvet, and also 4, 6, or 8-corners. Typically, graduates choose the tam color to match the velvet color on their gowns. The most commonly worn style of tam is a 6-corner, which is universally flattering to all head shapes and hair styles. The 8-corner is a little more ornate, while the 4-corner is more simple. We personally recommend the 6-corner tam in most cases.

    • 4-Corner Tam: $82.00
    • 6-Corner Tam: $89.00
    • 8-Corner Tam: $93.00


    Tassel Type

    If you purchase a tam, you must choose the type of tassel for your order. You may order a removable gold tassel free of charge, this tassel will be similar to your bachelors or masters tassel. Alternatively, you may choose to add a sewn-on gold tassel to your tam – these sewn-on tassels are smaller and do not move, so they will never hang in your face and can’t be lost.

    • Sewn On Gold Silky Tassel: A yellow, silky tassel that is sewn onto the tam - $25.00
    • Sewn On Gold Metallic Tassel: This gold tassel has metallic fiber that will never shred and is a true gold color. $45.00


    Step 4: Take your measurements

    If you order in-store, one of our Grad Experts can assist you with your measurements.

    However, if you are not ordering in store you will need to record them on your own.

    This is a super important step to ensure your cap and gown fits properly. We suggest getting a friend to help you with these measurements and following along with our step by step guide.



    Please note that if you are purchasing a custom cap and gown, we will need specific measurements, listed below. However, if you are simply renting, we will only need your height and head measurement.


    Head size (inches):

    This measurement is to ensure your hat or tam fits well. This is the most difficult and the most important measurement! Ensure that you are measuring as accurately as possible.

    Measure around the widest part of your head, roughly one inch above the brow.

    Ensure that the measuring tape is parallel to the ground.

    Typical head measurements fall between 21 and 24 inches.


    Neck (inches):

    Measure circumference around neck, pull tape measure snug, but not tight. Typical measurement should be around 12 to 17 inches.


    Chest Measurement (inches):

    Measure around the widest part of your chest. Leave enough room for a hand or two to fit.


    Shirt Sleeve Length (inches):

    Place the tape measure at the back (nape) of your neck and pull the tape measure to your shoulder, then down to your elbow, then wrist. The tape measure should end near the bone on your wrist, where you would want the sleeve to fall. Typical measurement is between 29-35 inches.



    Height (Feet/Inches):

    This should be your height without shoes.


    Other things to note for measuring:

    When measuring, keep the tape parallel to the ground - no angled measuring.

    The shortest shirt sleeve length accepted is 29”. This is the average length of someone between the heights of 5’0” to 5’3”.

    Have a friend help you!


    So there you go! You’re now ready to order your Doctoral Cap and Gown. 

    If you have ANY questions, contact our graduation department by calling 800-255-1896 or emailing


    Good luck and hook ‘em!