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July 4 is perfect time to break out red, white and blue

| Sunday, June 29, 2014, 9:00 p.m.

Show your patriotism in style this Fourth of July through America's colors.

“The key to wearing red, white and blue is that you have to dress in two of the three colors and use the third as an accent for it to work,” says Gregg Andrews, Nordstrom fashion director. “Equal parts red, white and blue come off looking a little comical and unsophisticated.”

A good place to start, Andrews says, a pair of blue pants with a red top and white belt. And, he says, you can never go wrong with denim for Independence Day.

“What is more American than denim?” Andrews says. “Plus, denim plays well with red and white and can be the ‘blue' in the outfit.”

If you prefer to go all out in patterns, it's OK to don stars and stripes details, as long as they are in small quantities, Andrews says. T-shirts with a flag motif are fun and festive when worn with a pair of red, white or denim shorts.

“The key is that the outfit looks effortless,” Andrews says. “Don't try so hard because it will look like you did. The key is to celebrate America by looking tasteful and chic for this holiday.”

A blue-and-white striped French sailor-style shirt with a pair of cropped skinny jeans fits the dress code for summer event, says Nicole Chapoteau, accessories director for Allure magazine.

“I am not a fan of a flag shirt unless it's an abstract design,” Chapoteau says. “T-shirts look more dressed up paired with a trouser, instead of jeans, and a cute blazer.”

If denim isn't your style, pair a flag, stars or striped shirt with a sheer-paneled, knee-length or mid-length skirt which is subtle, sexy and modern, says Lindsay Huggins, senior fashion market editor for Self magazine.

Blue is a strong color for the summer season, says Jane Woolf, brand director at Long Tall Sally.

“It's a hue that can easily be used to create a subtly patriotic look,” Woolf says. “Pair blue wide-leg trousers or jeans with a striped T-shirt, and add red- or navy-striped flats such as espadrilles or ballerinas. A white jacket over the top completes the look.”

Stripes never go out of style and can create a nautical and a patriotic look, Woolf says.

“A fun alternative would be accentuating a navy-and-white patterned dress with a bright red belt and neutral-colored sandals,” she says.

If you want to be a little more feminine, choose a striped dress — short or maxi length, says Marissa Rubin, senior market editor for People StyleWatch. There are plenty of cute T-shirts with stars on them, she says. She agrees with Andrews to wear two of the three colors and use an accessory to represent the third hue.

Pick stars or stripes — not both, Rubin says.

“Showing patriotism isn't about being so literal,” Rubin says. “It is nice to have an element of patriotism without looking like the flag.”

JoAnne Klimovich Harrop is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at jharrop@tribweb.com or 412-320-7889.

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