Stars & Stripes Fashion

With the Olympics right around the corner, people are letting their patriotism fly freely. Lately the American Flag is everywhere… all over everyone’s bodies. I wonder if most of these people rocking those American Flag denim cutoffs and shirts have any idea that there is a US Flag Code that specifically states what you can and can’t do with the flag.

Apparently, even wearing the flag on a t-shirt is the same as wearing the actual flag.

Yes. According to the Flag Code, a flag is anything “by which the average person seeing the same without deliberation may believe the same to represent the flag.”

The words “flag, standard, colors, or ensign”, as used herein, shall include any flag, standard, colors, ensign, or any picture or representation of either, or of any part or parts of either, made of any substance or represented on any substance, of any size evidently purporting to be either of said flag, standard, colors, or ensign of the United States of America or a picture or a representation of either, upon which shall be shown the colors, the stars and the stripes, in any number of either thereof, or of any part or parts of either, by which the average person seeing the same without deliberation may believe the same to represent the flag, colors, standard, or ensign of the United States of America.

Source: Flag Code, Section 3

Therefore, a flag includes any representation of it of any substance, with stars and stripes of any number. This would include T-shirts and ties.

Other references in the Flag Code relevant to this question are:

  • The flag should never be used as wearing apparel, bedding, or drapery. (section 8d)
  • It should not be embroidered on such articles as cushions or handkerchiefs and the like (section 8i)
  • [It should not be] printed or otherwise impressed on paper napkins or boxes (section 8i)
  • The flag should never have placed upon it, nor on any part of it, nor attached to it any mark, insignia, letter, word, figure, design, picture, or drawing of any nature. (section 8g)
  • No part of the flag should ever be used as a costume or athletic uniform. (section 8j)

The Flag Code states that the flag should never be worn. (Section 8d): “The flag should never be used as wearing apparel.”

Now, this doesn’t mean that you have to dispose of your flag themed apparel because there are no penalties for violating the Flag Code. It’s main purpose is to serve as a guide which can be followed on a voluntary basis to ensure proper respect or the flag. Also, I hardly think the Fashion Police are going to stop and fine you. Not when the American Flag has become so editorially desirable.


Double the Flag. Miss Solange Knowles rocks some Stars & Stripes shorts against an American Flag. .


American Flag button down shirt

usa sweater

Stars and Stripes Sweater


Lana Del Rey Photo Shoot


Katy decided to show her major flag affection with the U.S. on one side and the Union Jack on the other.


Katy Perry is the queen of wearing the American Flag. Homegirl is feeling super patriotic.


Stars and Stripes on your feet.


Stars and Stripes Backpack


Erin Wasson French Vogue July 2011 Editorial


The infamous Catherine Malandrino Fall 2001 collection which she later re-released.


Black Milk Stars & Stripes Swimsuit


American Flag Sleeveless Shirt


Don’t leave the males out. American Flag shorts.


The American Flag is a popular background.

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What are your thoughts on incorporating the American Flag or any country’s flag into your wardrobe?

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      Andrew Sep 19, 2012

      Good post…..Interesting fact about striped clothes; in the medieval period, any surface that had a background that was hard to distinguish from the foreground was apparently disturbing to their eye. As a result, only people on the fringes of society such as entertainers and prostitutes wore stripes.

      Salvatore Nov 26, 2019

      I was searching for up to date information on this subject
      for a couple of days. Now I am satisfied because I have finally reached your article.


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