The trendlet: Patriotic duds

Red, white, and blue hues are always right for the Independence Day soiree.

The trendlet

This summer, with the Democratic National Convention coming to America's birthplace and all, you may get a little more use out of those patriotic duds, whether it's awash with stars and stripes or elephants and donkeys.

Where does it come from?

The Flag Act of 1777 declared Old Glory would be a banner of red and white alternating stripes and a field of blue with white stars. Red, white, and blue were adopted as America's colors.

With the War of 1812 came Uncle Sam, a white-bearded guy clad in a blue jacket, red tie, and top hat trimmed with white stars, sternly urging men to join the U.S. Army.

In the early 1900s, trendy summer picnics would be set with red-and-white-gingham tablecloths - including and especially those held in honor of Fourth of July.

During the First World War, Americans showed their patriotism by pinning red, white, and blue corsages on their lapels. World War II also coincided with the rise of sportswear, and bolder hues became a part of the everyday palette. Red, white, and blue combos were one of the ways Americans showed support for their service personnel.

The United States bicentennial - culminating July Fourth, 1976 - brought with it kitschy red, white, and blue products, from T-shirts to baseball hats. From then on, retailers marketed the color combo as part our must-have, early-summer wardrobe.

By 2013, the fashion world, eager to cash in on homegrown pride after the recession, started an earnest push of all things red, white, and blue, beginning Memorial Day through Flag Day and on to July Fourth, the official end of the summer retail season.

Who's wearing it?

Anyone and everybody who wants to look amazing at the Fourth of July fireworks.

Would Elizabeth wear it?

Why, yes. In fact, my nephew has asked his immediate family to wear red, white, and blue at his fifth birthday party next week. He's an Avengers fan. Protecting America is his thing. I plan to fashionably fall in line.

Should you wear it?

Yes. There are many, many ways to wear red, white, and blue well. Colorblock it: Pair tomato red pants with a white T-shirt, white sneaks, and your favorite blue tote. Get jiggy with a flag-inspired sheer blouse and white skinny jeans. Or casually wear a red-, white-, and blue-ribboned straw fedora with a maxi dress.

ewellington@phillynews.com

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