The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

AP story section

June 25, 2013

July 4 colors keep well in closet

NEW YORK — Red, white and blue are at the heart of the Fourth of July holiday. Mix them. Embrace them. Wear them — and do it again on July 5. You can do it over and over again all year long.

The colors are a classic combination that celebrates summertime in all its glory, say style experts, and it’s infinitely more wearable than the other pairings that define other specific days on the calendar. Together, the shades are chic not costume-y, a much higher risk with, say the orange and black of Halloween, red and green at Christmas.

“Red, white and blue are iconic,” says Tommy Hilfiger, who weaves the colors into seemingly every collection no matter the season or trend. “These colors reflect freedom, optimism and a youthful spirit. ... I’ve always been inspired by iconic people and places, and my American heritage is one of the most recognizable influences in my designs. The brand has always drawn inspiration from our classic, American, cool heritage and signature preppy style.”

And, adds Tim Baxter, executive vice president and general merchandise manager of apparel at Macy’s, the colors aren’t just a source of American pride. The Brits and French also use it for their flags, he notes: “It’s a very bold and powerful color combination.”

The crispness of the colors — and the sharp contrast they offer — works in their favor, explains Alia Ahmed-Yahia, chief style director of the Loft. It’s not the same with other holiday-specific palettes.

First of all, she says, it’s grounded in white, which is an easy base for any summer outfit Memorial Day to Labor Day, and even longer if you’re willing to break some outdated “rules.” White is flattering to most people, it’s polished but not severe like a black would be.

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