This Piece Of Clothing Is Illegal
…there is one thing I have no love for, and that is American flag jorts. Jorts in general are not my favorite thing about summer, particularly not the kind where the hems are so aggressively frayed they resemble the curtains in a gypsy’s trailer or the pockets hang so low they’re effectively saddlebags. What’s seems even worse is a denim diaper having a go at Old Glory.
But are they so bad they’re illegal? Not just fashion police illegal, but like, actually against the law?
Short answer: Yes.
The United States Flag: Federal Law Relating to Display and Associated Questions makes the following declaration:
The flag should never be used as wearing apparel, bedding, or drapery. It should never be festooned, drawn back, nor up, in folds, but always allowed to fall free. Bunting of blue, white, and red, always arranged with the blue above, RS-7 the white in the middle, and the red below, should be used for covering a speaker’s desk, draping in front of the platform, and for a decoration in general.
Though unfortunately, the code is not enforceable by law. Marc Leepson, the author of Flag: An American Biography, explained the phrasing of the U.S. Flag Code thusly:
It has been part of the U.S. Code … since 1942. But the Flag Code is not enforced, and it’s not enforceable. It’s simply a set of guidelines that carries no penalties for noncompliance; it doesn’t even have enforcement provisions. Think of it as a sort of federally mandated Miss Manners manifesto.