Does the Flag Go on the Right or Left Side of a Sleeve?
How to Wear the American Flag on Clothing

How to Wear the American Flag on Clothing

When putting an American flag emblem on a t-shirt, does it go on the right or left side sleeve? Can superimpose text over the image of a flag on a hoodie? Is it disrespectful to cut the sleeves off a shirt that looks like the American flag?

People tend to have a lot of questions when it comes to wearing the American flag on apparel. Many people are concerned about this aspect of their patriotic apparel because they want to be respectful of American traditions and more importantly, they respect the American flag. The above questions and many others are good to ask—they show concern for the integrity of Old Glory!

The good news is that there aren’t too many stipulations on what you can do with your American flag apparel—so long as you’re not wearing an actual flag. Here’s what you need to know.

Placement of the Flag on Sleeves

There are a few rules on where the flag should be placed in regard to the stars and stripes on military uniforms, and many people assume this extends to civilian t-shirts as well.

While a military uniform with a flag on the sleeve can be worn on either the left or the right, the key according to Army Code is to make sure the flag is placed so “the star field faces forward, or to the flag's own right.” When worn in this manner, the flag is facing to the observer's right, and gives the effect of the flag flying in the breeze as the wearer moves forward.

The appropriate replica for the right shoulder sleeve is identified as the reverse side flag." While this is clearly stated in the Army Code, it only applies to official military uniforms, and not t-shirts worn by civilians. You are free to wear the flag on either arm on your t-shirt, as long as the flag isn't upside down. An upside-down flag is a disgrace to the nation and disrespectful to all the flag represents. As long as the flag design on your t-shirt isn't upside down, you’re good to go with the pattern on either sleeve!

Other Displays of the Flag on Clothing

Outside of sleeve placement, you’re likely to find the American flag on other parts of clothing as well. For the most part, there’s no rules about where the flag can be placed or how to display it (other than right-side up). There are a few general etiquette rules, however:

  • It’s generally considered unacceptable to put the American flag on the backside of any shorts or jeans. The reason is, when you sit down, you’ll sit on that image, which is, again extremely disrespectful.
  • It’s also considered generally rude to place text directly on top of the image of the flag; however, it’s completely acceptable to impose text above or below it.
  • Avoid buying American flag apparel with profanity or unsavory symbolism next to it. This is out of general respect for the flag and everything it represents.

The good news is that most of these simple rules and guidelines are common sense. If you’re buying American flag apparel to show off your patriotism, chances are you have enough sense not to buy pants with a flag on the butt!

Buy American Whenever Possible

Part of buying and wearing American-inspired apparel is contributing to the sentiment of your country. As a result, it’s best to buy American-made apparel whenever possible. Not only are you wearing patriotic apparel, you’re putting money back into the economy and ensuring jobs for hardworking Americans.

How do you know if you’re buying American-made flag apparel? Look for a “Made in the USA” sticker and buy from retailers like The Flag Shirt, who sell apparel sourced from United States textile manufacturers.

Wear Your Patriotism with Pride

Showing your patriotic pride is a big responsibility. Now you know you are still representing your country and the flag when you wear your favorite patriotic apparel. Just be sure to follow the simple rules above, and remember to always treat your American flag apparel like you would an actual American flag!

Visit The Flag Shirt and explore our large selection of patriotic clothing. From American flag polo shirts and button down shirts to patriotic neckties and other accessories, you’ll find any type of American-themed clothing and accessories you’re looking for! Come browse styles for menwomen and kids, and show your patriotic spirit in the most stylish way possible.

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