Independence Day – arguably my favorite warm weather holiday and the day when the entire U.S. population dons their red, white and blue to celebrate the birth of our nation!
Whenever I see the red, white and blue color combo, I’m immediately transported to the sunny, warm and perfectly shaded back garden that I spent most of my Independence Days at as a child. Grandma Ruth (honorary grandma, as we are not blood related) is the sweetest, most accepting and loving, tattooed G-MA you’d ever have the pleasure of meeting! What’s more, her 4th of July parties were always the highlight of summer! The anticipation and excitement building up in the days before the party was the summer equivalent to Christmas in my kid mind. I’ll never forget the comforting smell of Old Bay seasonings, juicy shrimp, sweet king crab legs and silky lobster tails boiling away with an accompaniment of andouille, potatoes and corn on the cob. We happily nibbled on small plates of summer-themed appetizers and sipped fruity-sweet concoctions while impatiently patiently waiting for the main event to boil to delicious perfection. To pass the time we always played croquet. I’m not sure why that was the game of choice, back then we weren’t usually croquet fanatics but on the 4th of July we most certainly were! The competition would get heated among us kids and I’m certain that my younger brother took a swing at each of us at some point when he knew he was losing! Although, I don’t think we ever played by the rules or even knew what the rules of croquet were, but simply hitting that deceptively heavy little ball with the matching wooden mallet (definitely the industry term for it) was enough to keep us coming back for more every year. Of course, no Independence Day celebration was ever complete without pyrotechnics and as kids, getting to play with explosives was the cat’s pajamas! We felt like daredevils lighting smoke bombs, roman candles, shimmering fountains and those little tanks that roll along shooting off sparks and making loud pops! As we got bigger, so did the fireworks. Perhaps too big for the suburban area we were lighting them off in, but who can resist fireworks that burst into massive smiley-faces?! It’s been a few years since we’ve spent a 4th of July in Ohio due to military life, but I will always have and cherish the memories made at Grandma Ruth’s party.
One thing about the 4th of July that I look forward to these days is putting together a new red, white and blue outfit. It doesn’t matter what we have planned, if we’re going to a huge beach party in SoCal like we did a few years ago, Mount Vernon like we did last year, or just staying home and barbecuing with family and friends like we did in FL, I still like to plan the perfect patriotic outfit. After all, I never miss a chance to dress up! More on that in the upcoming months, stay tuned! So I’ve decided to dedicate a post entirely to tips and ideas for patriotic outfits for you to use for your 4th of July fete!
- Muscle tank and frayed denim.
During our first few months in Maryland last year, we decided against better judgement and went to Mount Vernon – George Washington’s home – as part of our 4th of July fun. I strongly advise against going there during a holiday. It was packed! We had to park a few miles away but there were shuttles running to and from the lot where we parked, which eased the pain of our poor choice. On top of that, July in the D.C. area is HOT and unbelievably humid! So with the weather in mind, I wore as little as possible and opted for the ultra-casual ensemble pictured above. Because nothing screams ‘MURICA like frayed denim shorts and a glitter muscle tank! Both are from Victoria’s Secret PINK and at the beginning of summer they do a sweet deal on patriotic tops – I got the top and shorts for $25 total!
2. Retro inspired yet practical.
Another classic American print is gingham and this summer gingham is hot! I’ve paired this classic J.Crew Factory popover blouse with a classic denim mini skirt for an extra dose of American style. How cute are these white leather bow slides? They literally go with everything and are an easy way to make any outfit look just a bit more put-together! For the finishing touch a classic, structured carry-all navy tote to fit the kids’ countless accoutrements. Add some red tassel earrings for a pop of patriotic color, too!
3. Preppy stripes with summer accessories.
Next is this cute top with a timeless red and white stripe print and exciting details like the bow, ruching and one-shoulder style. Pair it with simple bottoms and accessories in coordinating patriotic colors for a classy-casual 4th of July look. Since this top does have a boxy cut I’ve paired it with slimming, dark-wash skinny ankle jeans for that all-important lengthening. Stilettos would work even more lengthening magic, but since I’m usually chasing around an 18-month-old, I opted for much more practical Castañer wedge espadrilles – another staple this summer. This white wicker clutch is a vintage piece on loan from my mother that adds a sweet summer vibe to the ensemble.
4. The stunner.
I’ve saved the best for last! This designer dress is made from the softest Italian cotton in a navy, red and white stripe. Can you tell I’m into stripes?! The skirt is so full and creates the most flattering silhouette AND it has pockets! Off-the-shoulder is super popular right now and full-skirts never go out of style, so a dress like this can be worn year after year and still look fabulous! Its red, white and blue color palette is ready to go for 4th of July celebrations, so I’ve kept with the theme and added navy flats, a navy belt and a white wicker clutch. Placing a belt around the waist of a fit and flare dress helps accentuate the waist and just adds a refined finishing touch. Top it off with navy statement earrings and you’ll outshine even the fireworks!