Is Wearing An American Flag Bikini Illegal?

By Jim Lawson on June 14, 2023
2/24/1970 – New York, NY – ORIGINAL CAPTION READS: Racquel Welch, posed full length in star-spangled bathing suit for the film “Myra Breckinridge.”

Is Wearing An American Flag Bikini Illegal?

Today is Flag Day. Is wearing an American flag bikini illegal? Yes and no. Section 8, subsection (d), of the US FLAG CODE  stipulates “the flag should never be used as wearing apparel, bedding, or drapery.” Subsection (i) states: “the flag should not be embroidered on such articles as cushions or handkerchiefs and the like, printed or otherwise impressed on paper napkins or boxes or anything that is designed for temporary use and discard.”

Is Violating the Flag Code Illegal?

No. While the the US FLAG CODE was first published in 1923 and adopted by Congress in 1942. The Supreme Court reversed flag-protection laws as a violation of free speech in 1989, and declared the law as unconstitutional in United States v. Eichman.

However the Flag Code continues to be followed by many as an act of tradition.  There is no penalty for violating any of its provisions. 

Here are more Flag Code regulations that are followed as tradition.

  • Never let the flag touch anything beneath it: ground, floor, water, merchandise.
  • Never place anything on the flag, including letters, insignia, or designs of any kind
  • Don’t fasten or display it in a way that will permit it to be damaged or soiled.
  • Never use the flag for advertising or promotion purposes or print it on paper napkins, boxes or anything else intended for temporary use and discard.

So, just in case you’re worried, there is no record of the police arresting someone for wearing a flag bikini. However, whether that looks good on you is another story. 

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