Today is the Fourth of July, and though it may be her birthday, America doesn't look a day over 200.

Before you pull on that flag T-shirt and roll out to barbecue, take a moment to consider the symbol's controversial history as an article of clothing. In 1968, activist Abbie Hoffman was arrested during a Vietnam War protest for wearing a shirt that resembled the American flag. He had violated the Flag Protection Act, passed by Congress that same year, which made a criminal of anyone who "knowingly mutilates, defaces, physically defiles, burns, maintains on the floor or ground, or tramples upon any flag of the United States." (The statue was ultimately struck down in 1990.)

But over the course of just a few decades, wearing an American flag has transformed from an act of protest to an act of patriotism. If you go looking for photos of celebrities posing with, draped in, or otherwise dressed in clothing that is directly inspired by the stars and stripes, you won't be disappointed. Flag ponchos, tops, bikinis, jeans—you name it, they've worn it. Celebrity flag fashion appears to have experienced a notable uptick in the year or two after 9/11, but it's still going strong, particularly on inexplicably super-sexualized magazine covers featuring female stars (looking at you, GQ).


Betsy Ross would be proud. I think?

Britney Spears

Rolling Stone

Jennifer Aniston


Tina Fey

Vanity Fair

Lady Gaga and Beyoncé


Mariah Carey

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Kid Rock

Busta Rhymes

Michael Buckner

Elton John


Nicki Minaj


Jessica Simpson


Courtney Love


Azealia Banks


Kacey Musgraves

Getty Images for Stagecoach

Lil Wayne

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Destiny's Child

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Mariah Carey

Kate Upton


Katy Perry

Michael Caulfield

Evan Peters


Carrie Underwood

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Dolly Parton


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Beyoncé (again)

Lana Del Rey




Molly Fitzpatrick is senior editor of Fusion's Pop & Culture section. Her interests include movies about movies, TV shows about TV shows, and movies about TV shows, but not so much TV shows about movies.