While many praised the senator's sensible choice of clothing in Washington's chilly weather, several others saw in his patterned brown wool mittens, the perfect opportunity for a new meme.
Senator Bernie Sanders may not have gotten the Democratic party's presidential nomination, but he sure did steal the limelight on the president-elect's Inauguration Day. Dressed in his iconic Burton winter coat and a pair of incredibly comfy-looking mittens, the 79-year-old quickly became one of the most talked-about fashion moments from the event on social media, outshining even the likes of Lady Gaga and Jennifer Lopez. While many praised the senator's sensible choice of clothing in Washington's chilly weather, several others saw in his patterned brown wool mittens, the perfect opportunity for a new meme.
The pose. The mittens. The social distance. pic.twitter.com/kwHH7AzZY8— Vulture (@vulture) January 20, 2021
Something about this photo of Sanders sitting all alone on a folding chair, bundled up in the same jacket he wore in his now-famous "I am once again asking" video, and his oversized wool mittened arms crossed, flipped all the right switches in the meme world. Twitter users soon began lifting the senator and placing him in various locations and hilarious situations; and when I say various, I mean just about everywhere you can imagine.
Bernie Sanders should do the SNL Cold Open. pic.twitter.com/a6AsD3NQB8— George Takei (@GeorgeTakei) January 21, 2021
Some of my favorite Bernie Sanders sightings today: pic.twitter.com/Pxta5BO7Uu— Seth Abramson (@SethAbramson) January 21, 2021
Bernie Sanders had the busiest January 20 of anyone: pic.twitter.com/2xZJmeqTTW— Seth Abramson (@SethAbramson) January 21, 2021
When Bernie took the team out for dinner and realized he was too old for this shit pic.twitter.com/SNKx5trUf5— no (@anooosher) January 21, 2021
I made this Bernie sitting meme to contribute to the cause pic.twitter.com/kvHADLRFJI— DJ-KIMchi (@djjkim) January 20, 2021
Bernie Sanders, first of his name, Wearer of Mittens, Sitter of Chairs pic.twitter.com/1j6p8mrdlr— Matthew Mucha (@mattymooch) January 20, 2021
While social media seems to have filled up with memes based on this particular photo — taken by photographer Brendan Smialowski — alone, Sanders' outfit for the event and an intriguing looking manila envelope also gave rise to many hilarious observations.
Bernie looks fully prepared to leave this event early to mail his taxes and cash a cashier's check pic.twitter.com/mKJHshDs5T— The Internet's Grey Johnson (@BoxrecGrey) January 20, 2021
Bernie dressed like the inauguration is on his to do list today but ain’t his whole day. pic.twitter.com/wCRyoxU3V2— Reeezy (@MsReeezy) January 20, 2021
“This could’ve been an email” pic.twitter.com/kn68z6eDhY— Ashley K. (@AshleyKSmalls) January 20, 2021
Breaking: Bernie Sanders has stolen the Declaration of Independence. pic.twitter.com/iCEk6cQL1p— Danny Neary (@itsdannyneary) January 20, 2021
no way. no fucking way pic.twitter.com/0o9kUFgWNo— zach silberberg (@zachsilberberg) January 20, 2021
OK I KNEW I COULD TRUST BERNIE!!! pic.twitter.com/JO94PGfJRW— New Year Same Parv✨🎉🥂 (@RealPattyWap) January 20, 2021
As it turns out, the senator's much-talked-about mittens and jacket both have heartwarming stories behind them. The cozy mittens that turned heads and lit up social media were reportedly created by Vermont teacher Jane Ellis, who made them from repurposed wool sweaters and lined them with fleece from recycled plastic bottles. Speaking to NBC Boston about the moment she spotted the mittens on TV, she said: "I was like, 'There they are.' I love it that he loves them and that he wears them. And I'm totally honored that he wore them today."
Bernie’s mittens are made by Jen Ellis, a teacher from Essex Junction, Vt. She gave them to him 2+ years ago and was surprised when he began wearing them on the campaign trail. They are made from repurposed wool sweaters and lined with fleece made from recycled plastic bottles. pic.twitter.com/ErLr29lY2t— Ruby Cramer (@rubycramer) January 20, 2021
Ellis, who said she has never met the senator, is a full-time elementary school teacher in Vermont's Essex-Westford School District. As for how her mittens actually reached Sanders' hands, it all started with her daughter Helen, who went to a child care center owned by a relative of the senator. When she wanted gifts for the staff a couple of years back, Ellis had an "in" who could slip a pair to the former presidential candidate. The mittens have clearly become a favorite of Sanders, who also wore them at stops on the campaign trail when he was running for president in 2020, and in interviews with Vermont journalists.
Want Bernie Mittens? I have some new inventory and time for special orders. firstname.lastname@example.org #NYforSanders #peopleforbernie #BernieSanders2020 #berniesmittens #FeelTheBern2020 #NHforBernie #FeelTheBern #peopleforbernie pic.twitter.com/6wmEOvlkSS— Jen Ellis (@vtawesomeness) February 7, 2020
Sanders' now-iconic coat also has a sweet backstory. The senator's wife, Jane O'Meara Sanders, revealed on Twitter that the jacket was a Christmas gift from their son who worked with the Vermont-based brand Burton. "Our son Dave, worked with @burtonsnowboard founder Jake Burton on a limited edition jacket with Bernie Sanders' face on the back. Bernie really liked it, so Dave got him one - without his image - for Christmas. Vermont jacket, Vermont gloves, Vermont common sense," her tweet reads. Burton also issued a tweet in honor of the occasion, posting an image on how to "steal the look," complete with the jacket.