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Patriotic Apparel: How The United States’ Flag Became Worn

Have you ever wondered how clothing has developed over time? Nowadays we have clothes we can buy advertising specific events, memes or company logos. For example, we see people wearing hoodies advertising a race someone has participated in or hats showing off the latest social meme on social media. But clothing hasn’t always been that colorful or branded. Throughout the last two hundred years or so the clothing industry in America has slowly turned more and more towards consumerism, offering an increasingly wider array of options to the average consumer whilst culture and fashion continues to broaden and change. For patriotic fashion, it is a similar story.

Military Origins

Of course, long before such patriotic apparel became a public fad, the American military would wear the colors they supported during the revolutionary war.  Click here to learn more about the first official military uniform designed by George Washington himself. The style was a blue jacket whose inner lining depended on the rank of the soldier- in this case, white for the infantrymen and red for those in the artillery. Then by the early 1800s (as was seen with soldiers who fought in the war of 1812), all military officials would sport the current American flag as a patch on the right shoulder, although embroidered at first. But patriotic apparel worn by the American public begins with a holiday most familiar to modern Americans. That is, the fourth of July, where people are mostly seen wearing something with the American flag imprints. 

The Origin of July Forth

John Adams once remarked that the Independence Day, once the revolution was complete, “will be celebrated by subsequent generations as a spectacular anniversary party… with pomp and parade, bells, guns, sports, games, and bonfires, and illuminations from the entire continent east to west, from now until forevermore.” So here begins the origins of independence day, and Adams actually made the declaration this to his wife on what was actually July 2, 1776 since the Continental Congress ad just made the decision to succeed from British rule. Adams’ grand wish of would finally take root after the war of 1812 when the public’s sense of patriotism was revitalized, and one can imagine even back then that alongside the rockets and fanfare people were dressed in patriotic colors. 

A Post-Civil War Fad

On the other hand, as far as the records show, It wasn’t until after the civil war that people started crafting clothing for everyday use in all three colors- red, white and blue- and sometimes even in stripes. Thus began the modern era of patriotic apparel, worn casually by the patriot, or perhaps by his wife while he was away on military duty. Again, in the early 1940s, Americans started wearing red, white and blue, inspired by the nationalism brought on by World War II. At the same time we see the creation of Superman, linking color and fashion with popular culture and heroism. Considering the time period, is it any wonder the creators chose red and blue for his skin-tight suit? 

Uncle Sam

There are other such stories of how patriotic apparel came to be. The trademark character of Uncle Sam along with his patriotic outfit of stars and stripes was developed in the 1870s by the cartoonist Thomas Nast. But this character eventually developed into the famous “I Want You” poster of Uncle Sam we know of today, which was released to the public in 1916 as motivation for recruitment in WWI. Please check out for a better look at the fascinating history of Uncle Sam The most glamorous feature of this bust of Uncle Sam is of course, his blue and white top-hat, around which sports a band of stars. At this point, wouldn’t you think that Americans were dreaming up similar hats and accessories to wear, perhaps for the context of parades or political events?

The Popularization of the American Flag

The full American flag itself also has a thread in time of its own, recanting of how it became popular to wear- rather than being confined solely to military dress or political occasions. Political pins depicting the full flag became popular with politicians and anti-war protesters in the early 1970s during the era of the Vietnam War. Then finally in the early 1990s, the patriotic apparel we are familiar with today became popular as a new wave of patriotism arose in the world of consumer fashion. Finally, it was common to see a flag printed on a t-shirt or sweatshirt. This same niche in the fashion industry has existed up until today, and offers just about every permutation of stars, stripes and cloth available to the average person. 

Anytime, Anyplace

When asked about what the motivations of the present are for being patriotic, the average American might point to former president Donald Trump’s “Make America Great Again” campaign or perhaps the most recent election for the president of the United States and the glorious battle for the swing states. Though patriotic apparel is not just for when political sentiments are high. Stars and stripes may be worn by the average American nostalgically, when they are abroad, or by those living in the remotest places in the country where the flag is flown in remembrance of what spirit lies behind the land, uniting the American way with the untouched. 

I am Lalitha Part time blogger from India . I Love to write on latest Tech Gadgets , Tech Tips , Business Ideas , Financial Advice , Insurance and Make Money Online

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