Custom and Ready-to-Wear Academic Regalia, since 1979. See our academic color chart, information on fabrics, how to measure for cap & gown, and the Academic Costume Code. Need Oak Hall regalia?
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Thinking of ordering your own custom regalia?

Here is Regalia 101: All the facts you need on the academic code, measuring, and your options for choosing your own custom-made academic regalia....

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FAQ | Measuring Help | Fabrics | Regalia History & Color List | Contact Info

Link to the American Academic Costume Code website

Questions & Answers about Academic Regalia

Q: Don't you have pre-made academic regalia in stock?

A Except for our John Wesley gown (Ready-made black with black velvet) sorry, no. Each set of regalia is a unique combination of school colors, field of study colors, and the wearer's garment preferences and measurements. Academic garments are not made until we have your specific measurements and all order details. It is not quite like having a "hands-on"seamstress in that we use our standard patterns in a large industrial plant and cannot take a tuck here and there or alter our patterns, but you do get a garment made to fit you as close as possible. If you are a hard-to-fit size it is possible that you might wish to alter the finished garment if you have unique fitting issues our abundant patterns cannot address, but we won't know until we have your measurements.

Q: Will I get the correct regalia if I order from you and not my bookstore?

A Your bookstore may be ordering from our plant! If not, our garments could be better quality than what you've seen at your bookstore. In either case, you are smart to deal with us directly since we are the plant representative and you get the personalized service we provide, plus the high quality garments. Another plus- no sales tax for most customers! Our main plant, Oak Hall, is the source of regalia information nationwide and knows exactly what your school requires as to style, color, etc. Just tell us your school and degree- we take it from there!

Q: How long does it take to receive my regalia order?

A Generally 8-12 weeks, sometimes sooner depending on the season. Anything less than 6 weeks requires a RUSH surcharge of 20% (Grad season 8 weeks, more info below). If you need to wear regalia before your order can be completed, we also provide rental regalia at reasonable prices and can arrange for that in the interim. Count on us for convenience- we make it easy for you. Remember- even if you waited too long to make your upcoming event, getting it ordered means that you'll have your regalia for all future events- you'll never need to panic about ceremonies again!
Overseas orders: please allow 4-5 months. We do not guarantee delivery dates to foreign addresses. Due to risks of theft, loss and other factors, we have limited our international service area to industrialized countries with dependable delivery options. To consider us as a supplier, you must be able to provide us with a delivery method that can be guaranteed. More on foreign orders below.

Q: Do I need to plan ahead for graduation season?

A If you want the best price and quickest delivery, yes! From March 1-May 31 our delivery schedule is so loaded that we must add a surcharge to RUSH custom regalia orders needed within 8 weeks (by May/June graduation).

Q: I have more than 1 degree- what do I wear?

A If a person holds more than one academic degree, he or she may wear only one hood at a time. The hood worn should be appropriate to the gown. If the degrees are not equal, choose your custom regalia according to the highest degree.

Q: I have a Masters terminal degree (MFA, etc) - what are my options?

A Some schools allow terminal degrees (no higher degree offered), such as MFA, to wear a doctoral robe with a masters hood. If you can verify that your school does not not have a higher degree in your field and will allow this, we will be happy to supply information on doctoral gowns.

Q: What if I only need a tam?

A Sometimes we may have what you need on the shelf, especially in that crunch time in late spring when we try to anticipate the need, but don't count on it! Tams are made to your specifications, size, color, etc. These are all CUSTOM items.

Q: Can you make the regalia for MY school?

A The academic code determines the colors for the velvet and satin. This is standard throughout the industry, so yes, we do provide the colors required for your school and field of study.

Q: So I don't really need a catalog to make my choices?

A Not really. We can send a brochure, but these web pages actually give you more information. Your main area of choice is fabric type, since colors are predetermined. We know the fabrics well and are happy to make suggestions to suit your needs. Optional piping is another area where you can be creative (see below). Ignore colors when you look at the style photos, as the style you choose will be made in your colors.

Q: You offer several styles of black doctoral gowns. Which one is appropriate for my school?

A All are appropriate. Choose the style features and price range you prefer.

Q: Do I have to have a black robe?

A Doctoral gowns made from colored fabric are generally part of a distinctive "Special Regalia" that has been designed by certain prestigous universities. Unless you have a special regalia or permission from your graduating school, black is the standard. Masters and bachelors degree holders? They get any color they want, as long as it's black. :)

Q: What are my velvet options?

A Black velvet on the gown is a "default" for any doctoral degree.
If you have a PhD, the standard colored velvet is a deep blue (PhD Blue). Often a PhD degree holder will choose to add optional piping in a color that corresponds to the field of study (for instance, light blue piping for PhD in education) to outline the PhD Blue velvet panels and chevrons.
If you hold a doctorate, but not a PhD, your gown velvet choice is black, or the color of your field (EdD would be light blue velvet, DDiv is scarlet, etc) Some schools will allow PhD holders to wear the velvet color of their field of study, but this is rare. Check with your school. Conversely, ONLY PhD degree holders can wear PhD Blue. Degree holders below the doctorate level have velvet only on the hood, in the field of study color.

Q: What is piping, and do I need it?

A Piping is an optional colored cord that is stitched into the garment along the edge of the velvet. The academic code is silent on piping, so you are free to choose your color. For degrees below the doctorate level, piping is available for the hood only, since the gown has no velvet. It adds an extra richness to the look, and can also provide a way to distinguish your field of study (see above). Doctoral regalia may choose the option for the gown and the hood, which creates a more coordinated look. You do not have to use it, and you can elect to add it to only the gown or only the hood. Personally, I think the price is small for a very nice feature.

Q: What is the cost for a gown, or the complete ensemble?

A The key price difference is fabric, style, extra features like corded piping, pockets, metallic tassel, etc. Schools that have adopted special regalia also designate the fabric, so those have a set price for each piece. If you need specific prices, request an academic brochure, as the included price list explains all the price options for each item- cap, tassel, gown and hood.

Q: Are the robes machine washable?

A Regalia with velvet and/or satin must be dry cleaned, although many of our fabrics are machine washable, allowing for easy spot cleaning.

Q: The velvet tams look so great! Can I get one to go with my master's gown?

A Sorry! Unless you have an MFA, (the highest degree in that field) they are for doctoral degree holders only. MFAs should check with their institution to make sure tams are permitted, as there is no official rule regarding MFA tams, just a growing trend in that direction. Some schools only allow them for the department head or not at all.

Q: I had a mortarboard and now would like a velvet tam. Can't I just give you my cap size instead of bothering with a head measurement?

A Tams fit the head differently than a mortarboard. Cap size is not always accurate. It's important that you measure your head at the hat band point (see measuring instructions below). If you measure carefully and still the tam does not fit correctly, in SOME cases we can arrange a size exchange. You will need to ship it back and incur shipping charges to receive a new size. As this is a custom-made item, tams are considered non-returnable, so please measure!!

Q: I know I need my own regalia. Where do I start?

A Read through our web pages. We explain all the style choices, code requirements, describe fabrics and explain how to measure.
We even provide order forms to walk you through your choices. We recommend that you print out the appropriate form(s) (see the bottom of this page) as a reference regardless of the method you use to order. You can email or FAX in the form, and/or talk it over with us on the phone. We have some great suggestions and would be happy to help- in fact, we make it so easy it's a pleasure! Once you know what you want and have your measurements ready, you are ready to order.
If you must have a brochure, we provide links for that request. The brochure does not show pictures for each school, only general photos of the 4-6 styles which are shown on our
Academic Robe page. Just keep in mind that mailing a brochure will delay the process so allow plenty of time.

Q: How do we contact you?

A We provide a "catalog" email link next to every item. This is a quick way to request a brochure or more information to order the item you found. You can also call with your order, once you have firmed up your choices.
1-8-ONLY-ROBES (1-866-597-6237). Email:

Q: What about measurements?

A Our catalog and webpages explain the measuring process very well. We ask for a signed authorization confirming all the details before we start cutting. Your robe will fit beautifully if you provide ACCURATE measurements. Please don't "pad" them to make sure it is big enough. As one customer told us "When we measured, we thought it would be good to go to the next size not knowing the quality of the robe. Big mistake on my part- quality very good, sizes very true." We use standard patterns closest to your measurements.

The key measurements you need to supply are:

1) Chest at the fullest part (usually this is within 2 inches less than or the same as a man's suitcoat size)

2) Total height with the shoes on you would wear in the gown

3) Sleeve measurement (corresponds to a man's shirt sleeve size) This is the classic tailoring measurement which can be a little tricky if you are unfamiliar. Please see the diagram (left) as a reference. The arm must be bent and held at shoulder height in front of the chest. The measurement must be taken with a flexible tape. Start at the nobby bone in the back of the neck, go over the shoulder, around the back of the elbow to the wrist.

4) Floor clearance- how long the hem should be. Use a ruler, stand with the appropriate shoes and measure the number of inches from the floor to where you want the bottom of the hem. Anywhere from 4-12 inches is fine, it's strictly your preference.

5) Head measurement- for tams, measure 1 inch above the brow where the hat band will sit. For mortarboards, measure 1" above the ears

6) Not required, but insures a good fit- neck measurement and weight.

Q: If we decide to order, what are the financial arrangements?

A An estimated total for your order must be prepaid. Once shipped, the exact amount including shipping is invoiced, and any adjustments are made at that point. For government and school purchases that have rigid payment terms, we can make special arrangements on request.

Q: I'm not in the United States. Can I purchase regalia from The Robe Shop?

A We are able and willing to be your source for regalia, but keep in mind that we only provide American styling. Due to risks of theft, loss and other factors, we have limited our international service area to industrialized countries with dependable delivery options. To consider us as a supplier, you must be able to provide us with a delivery method that can be guaranteed. We have many regalia customers in Canada, and are aware of the customs requirements there. For other countries, you will need to do your homework about your particular customs and duty charges. Some governments have such high duty and tariff fees that it could be costly to attempt to import regalia. Make sure you understand all the costs before committing funds to a regalia order.

Q: What is your return policy for regalia?

A Custom-made regalia is not returnable.

DO NOT SHIP IT ANYWHERE UNTIL YOU HAVE CONTACTED US. All order questions or problems must be directed to us, the retailer, NOT our production plant which may have shipped your order.

DO NOT WEAR IT until you are sure everything is correct, as we cannot accept returns on worn garments.

If there is shipping damage, please save the packaging until our carrier has inspected it for insurance purposes.

If the garment is flawed, defective or the order is incorrect, we will replace it at no charge. Again, notify us immediately.

For a detailed customer service policy, please see our About Us page, policy section.

Q: Will you send me fabrics swatches so I can choose?

A We do not send swatches routinely as most of the time the choices are simple to make without swatches, saving significant funds. If you already have our brochure and fabric descriptions and still need swatches, we can make those arrangements. Keep in mind that Special Regalia (non-black) has NO CHOICE OF FABRIC.

Q: Tell me about the fabrics you offer

A Our fabrics are top quality and even include exclusive fabrics that are not available from any other robe company. Although we do provide 2 natural fiber fabrics, we recommend polyester fabrics for their wrinkle resistance, durability and the ability to be spot-cleaned. Technically, polyester is machine-washable, but the special linings, velvets and trims of Academic Regalia require dry-cleaning. Here is a brief description:

Fabric Descriptions

Fabrics are listed in order of our recommendations, top price tier is noted with ($)

Roosevelt: Available ONLY in BLACK, this ultra-light weight, silky fabric made from 100% recyled bottles is ideal for warmer climates and summer wear. Care is much easier than Tropical Wool- no moth holes, less wrinkling and lighter weight. It will withstand years of use, is snag resistant and is machine washable. Drapes beautifully!.

Tropical Wool ($): For those who value the breathability of natural fibers, this light weight wool/dacron blend fabric has a high quality fine woolen look, although it does require more care than 100% polyester fabrics.

Peachskin: A wonderfully soft and beautifully draping lightweight fabric, this polyester microfiber feels like peachskin to the touch.

Pavillion: A traditional fabric with a stately appearance. This 100% polyester faille has a slight horizontal ribbing in the texture.

Dalton Crepe is our classic robe fabric, featuring a soil release finish and better snag resistance than standard crepes. A Dalton Crepe robe maintains color brightness and releases soil more fully when washed. Draping and wearing qualities are excellent, due to the two-way texturizing- both warp and fill yarns are crimped. This double texturizing is responsible for Dalton Crepe's remarkable wrinkle resistance, its elegant draping qualities and its smooth, soft appearance. Note that the fabrics above are more lightweight and with all crepes you must be careful to avoid snags and pilling. Machine washable.

Venture is woven of 100% polyester Visa fibers by Milliken and is specially treated to release soil and stains during laundering. Venture is woven to be exceptionally durable. It is snag resistant, moderately wrinkle resistant, machine washable and requires little ironing, if at all. A flat-finish fabric similar to a cotton broadcloth, Venture's weight and stiffer drape lends itself beautifully to garments requiring greater fabric body.

Regency Poplin: This economical fabric is a sturdy 65% fortrel and 35% cotton. We do not recommend choosing Poplin as it has a heavy stiffness that is not the best choice for a soft-draping robe, but the budget price is appealing. Due to the cotton content it wrinkles easily and the color can fade with time so should be stored with care. This is an economical solution for those who cannot wear polyesters.

Aristocrepe (acetate) is still available but we don't recommend it except to match an existing acetate garment. Polyesters have replaced the old acetate standard, which was memorable for its tendency to shred and fade or change color entirely.

If you've narrowed your choices of fabric and need to see a sample, we would be happy to send it to you with a minimal deposit (refunded when fabrics are returned), but many times orders are placed based just on the fabric descriptions, since color is not usually an option.

Facts about Academic Regalia

The origins of academic regalia date back to the 12th and l3th centuries, when universities were taking form. The first gowns were patterned after the dress of the cleric and were believed to be a necessity for warmth in unheated buildings. Hoods were designed to serve as cover for the tonsured head. Caps were not used at that time. It wasn’t until late 19th century that colors were assigned to signify degrees. The color used should be indicative of the subject to which the degree pertains. For example, the velvet for the degree of Master of Science in Education should be light blue, representing education, rather than gold, representing science. No academic hood should ever represent more than a single degree.

In the case of the Ph.D. degree, the dark blue color is used to represent the mastery of the discipline of learning and scholarship in any field that is attested to be the awarding of this degree and is not intended to represent the field of philosophy. For all academic purposes, the colors associated with the different disciplines are as follows:

Accountancy- Drab
Agriculture- Maize
Anthropology- Gold
Architecture- BlueViolet
Arts- White
Audiology- Spruce Green
Biochemistry- Gold
Business Administration- Drab
Chiropractic- Grey
City Planning- BlueViolet
Civil Engineering- Orange
Commerce- Drab beige
Communication- Crimson
Counseling & Guidance- Lt Blue
Criminal Justice- Midnight Blue
Dentistry- Lilac
Divinity- Scarlet
Dramatic Arts- Brown
Economics- Copper
Education- Light Blue
Engineering- Orange
English- White
Family and Consumer Services- Maroon (was Home Economics)
Fine Arts- Brown
Foreign Service- Peacock Blue
Forestry- Russet
History- White
Horticulture- Maize
Humanities- White
Journalism- Crimson
Jurisprudence- Purple
Law- Purple
Letters- White
Library Science- Lemon
Literature- White
Medicine- Hunter Green
Music- Pink
Nursing- Apricot
Oratory (Speech)- Silver
Optometry- Seafoam
Pharmacy- Olive Green
Philosophy- Ph.D. Blue (Dark Blue)
Physical Education- Sage Green
Physical Therapy- Teal
Public Administration- Peacock Blue
Public Health&- Salmon
Physics- Gold
Science- Gold
Social Work- Citron
Speech- Silver
Theology- Scarlet
Urban Planning- Blue Violet
Veterinary Science- Grey

Discipline       Color
Architecture (M.Arch.)   Violet violet
Agriculture   Maize maize
Arts, Letters, Humanities   White white
Commerce, Accountancy, Business   Drab drab
Dentistry   Lilac lilac
Economics   Copper copper
Education   Light Blue light blue
Engineering   Orange orange
Fine Arts (including B.S.Arch.)   Brown brown
Forestry   Russet russet
Journalism   Crimson crimson
Law   Purple purple
Library Science*   Lemon lemon
Medicine*   Green green
Music   Pink pink
Nursing   Apricot apricot
Oratory (Speech)*   Silver Gray silver gray
Pharmacy   Olive Green olive green
Philosophy   Dark Blue dark blue
Physical Education   Sage Green sage green
Public Administration   Peacock Blue peacock blue
Public Health*   Salmon Pink salmon pink
Science   Golden Yellow golden yellow
Social Work   Citron citron
Theology   Scarlet scarlet
Veterinary Science (D.V.M.)   Gray gray

Information obtained from the American Council of Education Academic Ceremony Guide

More details available at

Complete Regalia order form

Academic gown order form | Academic hood order form | Academic cap order form

Thank you for your interest in regalia from The Robe Shop! Please let us know how we can help you!

Academic Regalia Brochure request

Back to Academic Robe page, with photos of available styles

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