Weaving the Flag – Display American Flags on Clothing

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Are American flags allowed to be posted on clothing? Some may say yes, while others no. In general, US flags should not be printed on clothing, although for certain types of clothing and in certain forms they can be seen. The location of an American flag on clothing is often viewed as debatable, as the position could be neutral or indicate disrespect. For the latter, students with a flag patch or bandanna on the seat of their pants have been called out for disrespect according to local flag codes. Although a flag should not be placed on average clothing, it can be seen on clothing worn by patriotic organizations, as well as military organizations, the police, and fire department. In all of these instances, if the flag is not printed, it should be presented as a patch or pin.

When displaying the American flag as a pin, the pin should be displayed at the left lapel near the heart. In this position, the union – the blue field with 50 stars – needs to be at the observer's upper left corner. For the wearer, this should be the upper right hand corner. Although flag pins are often sold in stores, this applies mostly for American flag pins appearing on uniforms. Never mindless, the average person wanting to wear a flag pin on July 4th should still obey this section of the national Flag Code, as well as any state flag laws relating to wearing the flag.

American flags are also worn as patches on uniforms. In this instance, the patch should either be close to the heart and displayed in the same manner as a flag pin or worn on the sleeve. When displayed on a sleeve, the patch should have the American flag appearing as if advocating. For left sleeves, the patch is a standard United States flag, but right sleeves have a reverse flag patch. Although this display is incorrect according to other aspects of the Flag Code, the reverse patch is needed for the advancing effect. In terms of placing the patch on the uniform, it should be one inch below the shoulder seam or, if other military patches are already on the uniform, one-eighth of an inch below other patches.

The only other restriction for American flags on clothing applies to athletic uniforms and costumes. Otherwise, if these rules by the Flag Code – as well as any state flag laws – are followed, a United States flag may be displayed on certain types of clothing.