American Flag Clothing: Do’s and Don’ts

Have you ever wanted to show off your patriotism by wearing American Flag clothing? Did you know that there are very specific rules about what you can and can’t wear when it comes to the flag and it’s likeness? Read on to find out more.

Most Americans own at least one piece of American flag clothing. There’s just something about the bright red and white stripes to the symmetrically arranged white stars on a navy blue background. It makes such a staple statement piece for showing off your patriotism.

However, there are many question marks behind American flag clothing policies. Is it ok to print out American Flag Clothing? Can you use the actual American flag to design clothing? Can you be arrested when wearing the American dress?

Let’s take a look at the US Flag Code to gain some insight.


The US Flag Code was founded by Congress in the 1940s to cherish the significance of the American flag. It explains how the flag represents a living nation, and wearing it dishonors the entire state altogether.

In the 1950s, most Americans started wearing the flag as shirts or scarves out of sheer love for the country’s armed forces. You see, at this time, US troops were deep in Korea and Vietnam, and wearing the flag was a way to show support for their fellow countrymen.

Dressing up in the flag has inspired even brands such as Old Navy, Tommy Hilfiger, and Ralph Lauren to drop collections with the flag print. In fact, Madonna also wore the banner to stand with fellow Americans following 9/11.

The flag code held Americans in line for years to this code, but somehow people let their patriotism get to them. Many Americans on National public holidays such as Independence Day and Memorial Day.


Back in 1968, wearing the American flag was enough grounds to arrest social activist Abbie Hoffman during a protest. The sanctity of the flag was pretty valuable for a very long time, and the only day people would wear it was on the fourth of July. However, the Supreme Court clarified the meaning of the Flag Code in 1990 as only a set of guidelines, and dressing up in it won’t earn you any sentence.

The US flag code bans using any flag for manufacturing clothing of all sorts. Generally, the US flag code points out that the flag should never be used as a uniform or gear. It includes any acting types, musical videos, favorite holidays, and charades. The primary reason is that the flag is considered a living thing, and wearing it would disgrace the highest order.

The US Flag Code also acknowledges that the flag should not be used to hold or carry anything. It prohibits people from making bags, purses, and wallets using the US national flag prints.

Another vital thing to note is that people shouldn’t replace the stars on the US flag with images or symbols. Some manufacturers tend to use the flag print and remake parts to exempt themselves from ignoring the flag code. The code stands that any modification of the flag is a violation of the American flag’s dignity.

The US Flag code also prohibits people from applying American flag clothing as an advertisement tool. Therefore, any advertisement firms that use flag clothing on actors in commercials, especially near public holidays, violate the code. The code also applies to scarves or handkerchiefs with the flag imprinted on them. Violation of this code leads to a fine of $100 or imprisonment of 30 days and less.

Americans also make the grave mistake of wearing flags to demonstrations and protests in printed attire. It is essential to notice how the flag objects to the practice and something that simple could get you into trouble with armed forces. Moreover, even simply waving the flag itself for protests violates the US Flag Code.

Finally, the Flag code clearly states at Section 176 d) that nobody has the right to use the American flag as wearing apparel, drapery, or bedding. The code is self-explanatory and includes all clothing accessories as well. Some American flag clothing falling in this clause are shoes, shirts, jackets, caps, belts, and socks. However, other permissions object to the Flag Code.


It is proven that people express themselves through dressing and how they appear to other people. Therefore, it is highly likely that the most fundamental reason people dress up in American flag clothing is to show their immense love for the flag.

It shows how much pride they hold as American citizens or offer support to their country. However, visitors to the country also purchase shirts, scarves, socks, or other clothing items from licensed stores, which questions the level of the Flag code’s seriousness.

Hence, so long as the flag itself isn’t in use while manufacturing clothing items, there are no violations of the Flag Code. Thousands of fashion lines get inspiration from the flag’s print, and they almost always sell out.

The flag of the US can also be sewn into the uniforms of service workers, and the US Flag Code permits it. Such service providers who have US badges include the army, firemen, policemen, and other members of patriotic organizations. The service providers can attach the flag patch to their half sleeve shirts, t-shirts, and cardigans’ sleeves.

The wearing of the patch on the sleeve shows a level of respect to the flag itself, and civilians interested in wearing the patch on garments should follow suit. Moreover, some people also attach the flag patch to caps and bags. Since there aren’t specific rules governing the practice, it is respectful to stick it on the highest point of the attire. The flag code indicates the American flag should not touch the ground and placing it on the highest point ticks off the guideline.

Moreover, the flag should stand horizontally and not vertically. The American flag patch should also be placed above any other patches, as it holds more significance than the rest.

There is a sense of patriotism attached to dressing up in a US flag print on a swimsuit, skirt, t-shirt, or legging, but it’s definitely violating the flag code. While you can’t be arrested or charged with the offense, it is good to keep in mind, especially if you want to stay true to your patriotism and respect for the flag!

And remember the very best way to show your pride of country and patriotism is by flying a 100% made in the USA American flag!