Because of the long history of the wearing of graduation caps and gowns, dating back as far as the 12th and 13th centuries during the formation of universities, a governing body now exists to prevent deviations and to preserve the long-standing tradition associated with the use of academic ensemble. The American Council on Education or ACE is tasked in overseeing that universities stay in keeping with the suitable system of academic apparel. Although rules are in place for gown, hood, and cap patterns, colors, trimmings, length, and lining, the material to be used is quite flexible. The choice of fabric depends on the climate of the school location to ensure maximum comfort of the wearer.
Schools are given freedom to decide the type of fabric to be used in their graduation caps and gowns as long as uniformity is ensured. The cap, gown, and hood must also be made from the same material. While high schools are more lenient, colleges are quite strict to the point of having dress rehearsals and inspections. Schools of the tropical climate are encouraged to use light materials while those in the temperate, heavy.
Among the top choices of fabric used during commencement exercises are cotton poplin, broadcloth, rayon, and silk. Cotton poplin is one of the most common choices as fabric because of its depth and softness. In addition, the material does not easily wrinkle while providing ease in ironing. Broadcloth which is made from cotton, silk, or polyester, is a mix of being comfortable to wear while being sturdy as well. Rayon is a semi-synthetic material made from regenerated cellulose fiber with high luster quality. Silk is a top choice for graduation caps and gowns as it is not only easy to find but is of good quality as well.
Schools can also choose between expensive and cheap materials. Rentals provide students with cheap and comfortable caps and gowns made from either pure cotton or cotton mixed with polyester or other synthetic materials. Graduates of the bachelor’s, masteral’s, and doctoral’s degrees opt to buy their own graduation ensemble made from expensive fabrics such as crosgrain, Percale, princetta, and others.