The flag clothing you're wearing for July 4 is technically illegal

The flag clothing you're wearing for July 4 is technically illegal

This fourth of July, I'm going to let you in on a little secret. Well, actually it's no secret as such, considering it's enshrined in law - it's just that very few people know about it. And that's that your flag-imprinted outfit is technically illegal.

It turns out that under the US Flag Code, wearing any clothing with the nation's flag on it is against the law.

"Every item of apparel that they’re wearing that has an American flag on it: shirt, shorts, bikini, hat, technically is in violation of the flag code," said Marc Leepson, author of Flag: An American Biography.

Etsy t-shirt Credit: Etsy / HippieRunnerHeadband

According to the federal flag code, "The flag should never be used for advertising purposes in any manner whatsoever."

In the District of Columbia, a flag being "printed, painted, attached, or otherwise placed a representation" on any "article of merchandise" for advertising purposes is a misdemeanor and can result in a fine of $100 or even imprisonment for less than 30 days.

The code also states that converting the material of a flag into an item of clothing is illegal.

Colin Kaepernick believes the 'Betsy Ross' flag that was due to be featured on Nike's latest sneakers is offensive due to its links with the slavery era. This is the moment the NFL player-turned activist sat out during the national anthem:

"You have to look at it as a series of guidelines," said Leepson. "There’s no flag police. No one’s going to get arrested."

Independence day aside, flag-adorned apparel is actually on-trend right now as more and more consumers are keen on donning a classic, timeless look.

"There’s a moment right now that we think is attributed to a return to classics," said Rachel Bennett, a creative director at The Doneger Group. "The flag itself was pretty popular in the 90s, and that’s a moment in time that’s being referenced often."

Designer label Tommy Hilfiger is just one example of a brand that is bringing out patriotic flag-inspired items.

Just last month, they announced that they would be relaunching seven items from their 90s collection, including pieces which featured red, white, and blue color panels.