As eyes across the world turned to Washington, D.C. for Wednesday's inauguration of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, people were on the lookout for the best fashion moments of the day, and one unsuspecting senator became the breakout fashion star. Bernie Sanders, the 80-year-old senator from Vermont, sauntered into the Capitol complex wearing a short beige overcoat and brown and white mittens, giving rise to a new viral meme, and now he is speaking out.
Less than 48 hours after "Bernie's Mittens" went viral on social media, Sanders sat down for an interview on Late Night with Seth Meyers, where he revealed all about his Inauguration Day look and those memes. Sanders told Meyers he was "just sitting there, trying to keep warm, trying to pay attention to what was going on," on that crisp winter day. As Meyers showed Sanders one of the memes to arise from the moment, with Sanders sitting with the Sex and the City leading ladies, he admitted, "yeah, I've seen them." As for what was in the envelope that piqued plenty of interest, Sanders remained tightlipped, stating, "I'd love to tell you, Seth, but it's top secret."
Sanders got meme-fied almost immediately on Inauguration Day after those tuning into the historic broadcast spotted him among the crowd. Surrounded but people dressed to the nines in their best suits and ensembles, Sanders opted for a more toned-down look. Wearing black slacks, he donned the very coat he wore in a video that became a meme last year, pairing the looks with warm wool mittens that easily stole the show. He also showed up with a manila envelope tucked under his arm before taking a seat. Social media users were all too eager to have Sanders popping up in some hilarious moments, with Sanders sitting on his chair being edited into various scenes of movies and shows.
As several social media users pointed out, his fan-favorite mittens were gifted to him several years ago by Vermont-based schoolteacher Jen Ellis. Sanders, who was seen wearing them multiple times while hitting the campaign trail, gave Ellis a shout out Thursday night, stating, "she is a schoolteacher and a very, very nice person, and is somewhat overwhelmed by the kind of attention that's being shown to her." In the wake of the viral moment, Ellis has been inundated with queries about the mittens, though she announced on Twitter she has "no more mittens for sale."
As for Sanders' coat, his wife, Jane O'Meara Sanders, shared a few details on Twitter. Jane explained their son Dave Driscoll, worked with the snowboarding brand Burton on a limited edition jacket with Sanders' face on the back. The senator was so in love with the coat that Dave got him one for Christmas without his face on it.