Wondering what to wear on 4th of July when your clothing budget is already stretched as tight as an elastic waistband on pizza night?
Here’s the trouble with holidays like Independence Day. It’s a big, important day. You want to show your patriotism and proudly show off your red, white, and blue. So you spend $60 on an American flag tank and sneakers that you wear once. Those pieces then end up at the back of the closet, gathering dust for at least a year.
That’s no way to manage your clothing budget. Especially not now, when inflation is going up and your retirement account balance may be faltering.
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There is a better way. Give your wallet a break and elevate your 4th of July style with affordable, Americana-inspired fashion you can keep wearing long after the patriotic parties are over. Read on outfit ideas and accessories that are perfect for your July 4th barbecues and beach parties.
What to wear on 4th of July: Backyard BBQ
1. Tie-back tank ($28)
Of the picks on my list, this sleeveless tank is the most boldly patriotic. Yes, there’s an American flag on the front — but it’s softened by the pretty sunflower shape. The other design element that puts this top on my list is the back cutout with a tie. Tie that back tight or loose to flatter your shape.
It is a lightweight viscose knit, so this won’t be the right choice if you live somewhere that’s hot and humid. Take a look at the next piece below for a cooler, less sticky alternative.
2. Red stripe tank ($30)
You can express your patriotism in a subtler way with a basic red striped tank. Pair it with denim shorts (see below) for a perfect, but casual red-white-and-blue outfit.
I like Anthropologie’s striped tank for a few reasons. The cut around the shoulders is very flattering. Plus, it’s slim fit without being tight and the long-crop length is ideal for summer. You don’t have to tuck it in, nor do you have to worry about looking shapeless.
3. Denim shorts ($31)
Denim Bermudas are a wardrobe staple. I wear mine on repeat throughout the summer — paring them with tunics, tanks, and tees.
You can find a cheaper pair of denim shorts than these — say at Old Navy. But if you plan on wearing these often, it makes sense to spend a tad more for quality. The way I see it, two wears for $15 is more “expensive” than 30 wears for $30.
This Levi’s short makes the cut because the brand is reliable in terms of fit and quality.
What to wear on 4th of July: Beach party
4. Two-for-one maxi dress ($19)
The best July 4 beach party outfits take you seamlessly from strutting like a goddess on the sand, to munching on chips, to watching the sunset from your beach chair. This maxi dress from Tobi checks all those boxes. Plus, the multi-colored stripe is patriotic without being kitschy.
On the 4th, wear it over your suit with sandals to the beach. Later, you can pair it with a denim jacket and sneakers for city sightseeing or shopping with your gal pals.
5. Multitasking three-piece suit ($29)
This swim set includes a modest boy short bikini bottom, racerback top, and longer blue swim tank — all for less than $30. You don’t really need a coverup with this ensemble. Wear all three pieces, slip into your flip flops, grab a towel and sunscreen, and you’re ready to go.
The bikini pieces of this set feature American colors, for a subtle nod to the flag. If you want more patriotism in your Independence Day outfit, you could easily pair this set with one of the accessories below.
Caption: This 3-piece swim set is a best-seller on Amazon.
Americana accessories you’ll love
If you’re not ready to invest in an American flag tank, shop accessories instead. You could wear these on their own, or pair them with some of the pieces above if you’re feeling bold.
6. The beach bag ($30)
A giant utility tote that’s sturdy and foldable for $30? Yes, please. This tote could be your summer MVP for trips to the beach, park, backyard party, or even the grocery store. The red, white, and blue color scheme fits right in for your July 4th celebrations — but also gives off a Tommy Hilfiger vibe that’s appropriate year-round.
7. Sneakers ($28 on sale)
It’s easier to get away with a bolder sneaker than, say, a stars-and-stripes top. Your sneaks are on the ground, after all, so they’re not the first thing people see when you enter a room. I like this pair because the colors are muted — so they’ll capture attention without demanding it.
You can pick up these Blowfish Malibu sneaks on Amazon, on sale for $38.
8. Neck or hair scarf ($8)
An Americana-inspired scarf is a low-commitment choice for your July 4th parties. It’s also cheap at $8. On Independence Day and afterwards, you can wear this pretty piece in your hair, around your neck, or tied at your wrist and ankle.