If you're getting ready to graduate from high school or college, you're likely already trying to order (if you haven't already) gowns, caps, invitations, and more. If you have been involved in a specific group or cause, you might also want to order custom stoles and sashes to decorate your graduation outfit. Yet these shouldn't be ordered on a whim. You have to plan them carefully and take certain issues, including these three, into account first.
Ensure Your School Allows Them
Many schools will allow stoles and sashes, but others do not, or they place restrictions on what students can wear. For example, CentralMaine.com reported in 2013 that a high school student who was part of the Maine Army National Guard was not allowed to wear a related sash because the school allowed only those sashes and stoles that were directly related to the school. Talk to your graduation adviser or the school's main office to see if outside stoles are allowed and if any other regulations exist.
Ensure the Colors Are Correct
Many schools assign certain colors to graduation stoles. For example, the University of Texas at Austin assigns colors to different colleges within the university, such as lilac for undergraduates in the College of Architecture, or crimson for undergraduates in the College of Communication. Double-check that the colors you want on your stole are not going to accidentally mark you as a member of another college or group.
Ensure the Symbolism Doesn't Clash
Many custom stole companies offer patterns that celebrate certain cultures or professions. They'll often have these patterns available for viewing in their catalogs, of course. If you see a pattern that you really like, verify that you wouldn't accidentally be claiming to be a part of another group by choosing that pattern. There is a great potential for insult if you choose a culturally based stole pattern when you're not associated with that culture -- wearing the pattern wouldn't always be treated as an insult, but this is an area where you really don't want to take a chance, especially given the current societal emphasis on cultural appropriation. Be very careful when you choose patterns lest you be remembered more for your stole choice than your academic achievements.
If you have other questions about how you can customize a graduation stole, talk to companies and see what services they offer (such as embroidery) and what options you have for colors and other features.