How to wear red, white, and blue without looking like a flag

Dressing to celebrate national holidays AND staying stylish can be tough goals to achieve in tandem. It’s easy enough to assemble an outfit that shows your celebratory enthusiasm, but let’s be honest: Those outfits can look a little cheesy. And if cheese is your bag, by all means go for it! Looking on-trend and super-stylish every minute of every day needn’t be your priority. But if you’d like to show your American pride this Fourth of July, yet would rather do so fairly subtly, here are some outfit suggestions for assembling low-key red, white, and blue outfits.


Most of us see denim as a neutral, and it certainly is, but blue denim can be called upon to represent blue in a flag-themed outfit. Add a red tee, but go for a washed or faded red, and some simple white sneakers to complete the triad. Make your accessories neutral – a classic straw tote can be nabbed at nearly any Goodwill, and antiqued brass jewelry keeps the outfit vibe very laid-back.


For a slightly dressier look, make a white dress the centerpiece of your outfit. Try a red belt – again, in a subdued red if you prefer a softer look – and a navy bag to hit the final color mark. You can use accessories to keep the outfit pretty and warm by selecting tans, golds, and beiges. A floppy sunhat, ladylike tan sandals, and gold jewelry work beautifully with the red, white, and blue base. Nearly all of these items are thriftable, but look especially for the belt and dress: Belts are ridiculously expensive new and can be thrifted for just a few dollars, and white dresses are frequently donated and readily available for secondhand purchase during the warm months.

Chambray or denim shirts and white jeans are typically available at Goodwill stores in a huge variety of sizes, and make a great base for another fun Fourth of July outfit formula. Get red into the mix with a simple crossbody bag, and go for a neutral shoe and muted jewelry.

In all three outfits, you’ll notice that muting the reds and blues helps make the looks less over-the-top American flag-themed. Navy, chambray, and denim for your blues, washed red or maroon for your reds, and straight up white as the completer. Keeping your garments to two colors and adding the third with an accessory is another great way to plan your Fourth of July outfits.