July 4th American-Themed Founding Fathers Costume Party!

Happy Independence Day! Ever since I was a kid, I’ve spent the first weeks of summer looking forward to July 4th, when I would have a classic American cookout, eat some kind of a dessert that uses strawberries and blueberries to replicate the American flag, enjoy the fireworks and play some good old-fashioned picnic games watch Revolutionary War documentaries on the History Channel. Although complaining about America is a tradition as old as the Declaration of Independence – and of course the U.S. of A. does have its problems – take a moment today to compare our country to some places across the globe: we have freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of religion, free, compulsory public education, and public parks and libraries open to anybody who wants to explore and learn. If that doesn’t make you want to chant U-S-A, U-S-A, nothing will.

But you don’t have to be from the United States to celebrate on the 4th of July – face it, no matter where you live, you’ve been exposed to American culture. So if you’re celebrating from overseas, here are some tips to throw a great American-Themed party (psst – Americans can do it, too!). My favorite parts: the name tags with names of American icons like Betsy Ross and Alexander Hamilton, the map where you try to fill in the names of the 50 states (no peeking!), and the mad libs approach to classic American speeches and songs like the Gettysburg Address and Oh, Susannah.

There’s always the issue of what to wear, though, and on July 4th I think the rule of the day is to be as cheesy and red, white and blue as possible. Think: whatever the summery, patriotic version of a Christmas sweater, you should wear that. We do have a few guidelines – the dos and don’ts of patriotic wear – if you don’t want to cross the line all the way into star-spangled Speedos.

However, if you’ve been inspired by Hamilton or by your once-a-year viewing of The Patriot, maybe you’ll want to get your all-American fashion inspiration from the founding fathers. Don’t worry, we’ve written a guide to founding father fashion too! Get out the tricorn caps, Yankee Doodle boys and girls. They probably won’t be the weirdest thing you’ll see somebody wear today.

One of our favorite pictures from the American-themed party post was a party in Poland where the hosts played the movie Pocahontas on the TV. We have some film recommendations in the party guide – American genres like baseball movies, war stuff, and Tom Cruise – but if you need a few more, here are some movies that make me love America.

Another age-old American tradition is losing to European and Latin American teams in soccer(/football). With the Olympics coming up, I should mention that our U.S. national teams are very good and I have high hopes! But during the last World Cup, we wrote a list of American things to do to get over the World Cup loss. The activities work just as well as a way to celebrate America!

Whether you’re an American celebrating the land of your birth, residence or citizenship, or a non-American trying your best to put up with us, we hope you have a spectacular July 4th! May all your hats be three-cornered, your parties American-themed, and your Solo Cups red.

 

 

This 4th Of July, Why Not Dress Like A Founding Father?

Ah, the Founding Fathers. They gave our nation its principles of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. They also gave it style. So much style.

My first foray into Founding Fathers fashion was when I tried to use dry shampoo. Rather than combing out easily and leaving me with bouncy, shiny but not greasy-shiny locks, it clung to my hair like a white powder. I looked like Thomas Jefferson. Which is to say: amazing.

I leapt headfirst into Colonial Cool when I tried to wear slim-fitting Bermuda shorts even though I am 5’2 and should know better than to have dreams. They looked like old-timey breeches. Paul Revere wished he looked so good in knee-pants.

I haven’t accidentally worn a tricorne cap yet, but I’m sure it’s coming.

This weekend we celebrate Independence Day, and many will deck themselves out in tacky American Flag gear – because you don’t really love your country unless you turn Old Glory into a pair of hotpants or a bandana. It’s also the one time a year when we – well, some of us – look forward to History Channel and PBS documentaries about our nation’s earliest days.

And I say, why not combine those two passions: caring about history for a little while every year, and dressing like an all-American reject? Why not take our fashion advice from the golden age of elaborate men’s fashions? This July Fourth, ask yourself: what would John Hancock wear?

Powdered Wig

Anyone who’s anyone in the 18th century wore a powdered wig. They knew the secret that George Clooney and Roger Sterling brought to modern times: the most beautiful creature in the animal kingdom is a silver fox. Look at Thomas Jefferson’s snow-white locks – so natural and free! Or John Hancock, whose wig isn’t even pretending it’s not a wig:

So how will you recreate it? If you’re like me, you could try having the absolute wrong hair type for dry shampoo. Or you could just go for a white-gray dye and bleach job, which is all the rage on the hallowed halls of tumblr:

Breeches

Centuries before capris burst onto the scene, declaring to all and sundry “I’m on vacation! But I still don’t feel awesome about my legs, really!”, the founders of our great nation knew that the best pants were actually half a pair of pants. Check out Ralph Earl. Nay, check out Ralph Earl’s stocking-clad calves. It’s enough to make you fan yourself with your mob cap.

If you were holed up in a hot Philadelphia meeting hall with your buds in the Continental Congress, you didn’t want 100% of a pair of pants bringing you down. Not to mention, long pants weren’t really a thing yet. No, you wanted to show off your flair and keep cool with these slim, flattering cropped pants, decorated with a little embellishment above the knee.

Samuel Adams models the looser version, appropriate for even the most mutton-fed body types:

So how do you replicate the look today? Capris, bermudas, or for the traditionalist, a slick pair of riding pants:

Waistcoat

Go to your nearest hipster bar, used book shop, or bicycle store. Wait 5 minutes. You will see at least one young man in an undercut, facial hair, and a waistcoat.

I’m going to need you to steal his waistcoat.

You can tell him you’re doing it ironically.

Frock Coat

Is it a frock? Is it a coat? It’s a mother-lovin’ FROCK COAT, is what it is. What, too warm to wear on July 4th? Well they didn’t have air conditioning at Independence Hall. And freedom isn’t free.

Anyway, just because you’re drafting articles of Confederation doesn’t mean you need to neglect your articles of clothing:

See that? Frock coats. Frock coats as far as the eye can see. And lucky you, you can still buy them:

Buckles

So, what holds America together? A common goal, a dream of a better life, a love for liberty? No. Buckles. Buckles do. Buckles on your pants, buckles on your shoes, buckles on your hats, buckles on your buckles. It’s as though the founding fathers KNEW they had to buckle up, because this nation was in for a bumpy ride. One of the top items excavated from colonial sites: buckles. Because then, as now, we are just trying to keep it together.

With buckles.

American Things To Do To Make You Get Over The World Cup Loss

So, we lost. I’m no soccer connoisseur, but I’m pretty sure it’s still a shock that we made it so far into the World Cup. It was exhilarating for the like, two weeks we were in the thick of it, as people who usually don’t care about professional soccer were suddenly into it for the spirit of AMURRICA.

And now that we’re out, we have to deal with the depression that comes once the reality of losing settles in (and what exactly we’re going to do with that Tim Howard Shrine). And to pour salt in the wounds, the loss came just days before the most patriotic day of the year. So to help you deal with one of the most bittersweet Independence Days you’ll ever celebrate, here are a few things to do today to help you get over the World Cup loss.

Watch and recite the speech from Independence Day

It doesn’t matter if you’re Democrat or Republican, one thing we can all agree on is that Bill Pullman as fake President of the USA is one leader we can stand behind, especially after this rousing speech before they fight all the aliens. You know, it sounds ridiculous once I type it out like that. But if you don’t stand up and clap in the name of America after this, you should probably check your citizenship at the door.

Drink beer from a red solo cup

In one of those Buzzfeed articles, it showed people from around the world holding ‘American parties’ and in almost all of them, they are drinking out of red solo cups. I didn’t realize it until reading the listicle, but why DO we use these cups at every college/drinking party, both portrayed on screen and IRL too? Either way, the rest of the world is right, we use these brightly colored cups to excess and drink your soccer cares away today/this weekend – preferably with a cheap American beer.

Register to vote!

Democracy – we got it! Also we have these awesome ‘I Voted’ stickers that you get after said voting, and these are the exact ones I got in LA that have different languages around the perimeter, including one in Filipino!! What up diversity!

Wear all the American flag things

As I found out last year, apparently any article of clothing with the flag printed on it is actually a flag. Like it should be treated the same as a real flag, according to the U.S. flag code. Basically, we’ve all broken the code. Oops. Maybe you shouldn’t go all out like Katy Perry (but I mean, good on ya if you do), but prove to the enemy that we stand strong in the face of adversity and don’t let those colors run (lawdd).

Eat your weight in hot dogs

Every 4th of July, iconic hot dog company Nathan’s Famous holds the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest, in which contestants shove the meat into their mouths at rapid pace and whoever eats the most gets fame and fortune (a bejeweled mustard belt), because, America. 30-year-old Joey Chestnut (pictured in the center) has won every year since 2007, and last year he even beat his own personal record of 69 hot dogs in 10 minutes. Needless to say, you don’t want to hang around the 10:01 mark unless you want to lose your appetite.

Just eat all the foods

Our friend Renee relocated to the Netherlands a couple years ago, and she held her own American Thanksgiving at her house for her Dutch friends, and made all the fixins, from mashed potatoes to sweet potatoes to vegetables to the obvious large turkey – and he Dutch pals kept questioning why she made so much food for such a small group of people. Because, you do. But WHY they asked. Just make less of it. NO. That’s not Thanksgiving, that’s not America. We’re known for our entirely too large portions and nothing helps you beat stress better than with just piles of food. And alcohol. But mainly food.

Spend too much money at Wal-Mart

Ah, Wal-Mart. Where the items are dirt cheap and so is the employees’ salary (allegedly). If you want to see America at its finest (and also a good reminder that your lives could be worse), all you need to do is go to the People of WalMart site and feel better about yourself, while at the same time disgusted for our society as a whole.

Play baseball

Ever since the 18th century, baseball has been “America’s Game”. There’s nothing more patriotic than going to a ball game, eating some peanuts and cracker jacks (and possibly a hot dog – too soon?), and hearing the National Anthem sung by a local singer who never made it big. Plus, you’re probably already into baseball anyways, so just focus your attention from soccer back to baseball.

Play (American) football

In addition to baseball, Americans love a good game of football. I mean the Super Bowl is like the biggest non-official U.S. holiday. It’s the second largest day for food consumption in the country and also the most watched television event every year. While the last game of the U.S. match in the World Cup did get huge ratings for ESPN – it’s nothing compared to the over 111 million viewers of the Super Bowl.

Basically play any other sport except soccer

I’m not saying you should NEVER play soccer – but maybe in the interim of your depression, just try a new sport that hasn’t taken off the ground in America yet. Like table tennis, perhaps. This sport is huge in Asia! It even is an official sport at the summer Olympics, so that’s gotta count for something!