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The Story Behind Bernie Sanders’ Meme-Worthy Mittens

by Danielle Wright


Wednesday morning, we finally saw a long-awaited inauguration: President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris took their oath of office, dumping Donald Trump and sending him back to Florida. The Capitol’s steps toward the center stage also served as a fashion runway, with Harris, Dr. Jill Biden, and Former First Lady Michelle Obama garnering some attention for their chic, monochrome looks. However, the surprising star of the whole show was Bernie Sanders: sitting cross-legged and social distanced, he sported a pair of dark black and brown patterned mittens. 

According to Twitter user @rubycramer, we can thank Jen Ellis, a teacher based in Essex Junction, Vermont, for Sanders’ inauguration look. She gifted a pair to Sanders years ago, and he first began wearing them during his campaign trial, specifically at the Seacoast Women’s March in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. The now-iconic mittens are custom-made from repurposed wool sweaters and lined with fleece created from recycled plastic bottles. (When it comes to protecting our planet and promoting sustainability, Sanders clearly walks the walk.)

Ellis previously hinted about possibly repurposing cashmere for her new collection. “I’m thinking of re-purposing a black cashmere sweater from my collection for Bernie’s January 2021 inauguration….you know- to take it to the next level. #berniesmittens #Bernie2020  #Bernie #FeelTheBern,” she wrote back in 2020. After the image of Sanders went viral, Ellis added that, due to increased demand, she currently has no more mittens, but she did recommend checking Etsy for similar items. “Thanks for all the interest in Bernie’s mittens!” she tweeted. “It truly has been an amazing and historic day!”



Top Image: Screengrab from CSPAN

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