Dressing for the Occasion: Independence Day Inspiration

When July Fourth falls on a Thursday, some of us get four day weekends. That's pretty awesome. That's four days of picnics and pool parties, fireworks displays and cocktails with friends. That's (a minimum of) four outfits in which you can display your American Pride.

Before we start with our July 4 Inspirational Online Window Shopping Extravaganza, let's go over a few rules, shall we?

1. No airbrushed American flags, and/or eagles, or any combination thereof; 2. No total-body American flag motifs. Stars-and-stripes are acceptable, but in tastefully limited proportions. For examples of what not to wear, click here. 3. No costumes. It's hot, you guys. We're in Houston. Skip the Uncle Sam and Betsy Ross garb. If you must, a cheeky, flag-themed top hat will do the trick.

For Her

• Is a pool party in your weekend plan? This swimsuit by Shabby Apple ($110) screams Vintage Americana, in red, white, & blue. Pair with white or navy espadrilles poolside, and don't forget your giant floppy hat. • Once you start shopping on Shabby Apple, it's hard to stop. This blue chambray shirt dress ($66 from $88) will become a wardrobe workhorse; perfect for everything from work to a casual night out with friends. A red or white (or red and white) belt completes the look. • Modcloth separates: Pair this red-and-white striped tank ($33) with these "Tried & True Shorts" ($60, and even the name is patriotic!) for a low-key day outdoors with friends. • Having a Fancy Fourth? Dress to impress in this Tadashi Shoji Lace Inset Jersey Fit & Flare Dress ($218). Navy is appropriate to the occasion, and an unexpected color for a "little black dress"-variety garment. • In Your Closet: Simply pair Dark Blue Jeans + White T-Shirt + Red Bandana or Scarf for an easy, casual, no-shopping-required look for picnics in the park. For dressier events, pair a white or navy top with a black pencil skirt and red heels or heeled sandals.

For Him

• Blue Gingham Shirt: Everyone (including women) need a blue gingham shirt. Because of the cuteness of them. Guys will like this one from Billy Reid ($185) for the dressier occasions. Billy Reid fans looking for something more casual (and inexpensive) may like this Dawes t-shirt (on sale for $40) in a stars-and-stripes motif. • Lands' End Plain Front Embroidered Spring Chino Shorts: Little American flags embroidered all over! So cute! Why don't men wear more embroidered shorts? These are deeply discounted ($16.97 from $50) and only available in 34 and 36. Another July Fourth-appropriate option are the Men's Regular Madras Shorts in Cocoa Butter Plaid ($29.99 from $50), which benefit from a softer, buttery off-white hue against the red and blue. • Speedo Men's Horizon Ombre E-Board Shorts in Blue Aster ($39.99): In red and variations on blue, the stripes have a very '70s retro feel. Long board shorts are, generally speaking, preferable to skimpier suits--especially for family-friendly picnics. • In Your Closet: Blue & white checked shirt + red t-shirt + tennis shoes or sandals works for picnic wear. If you're going out to dinner, a crisp, white button down with navy pants and a red rep tie is sharp and patriotic without screaming HI, IT'S JULY FOURTH, GUYS.

Everyone have a safe, happy, sartorially successful July Fourth weekend!

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Christina Uticone