Politics

Bernie Sanders’s extremely Vermont outfit stole the show at Joe Biden’s inauguration

"Vermont jacket, Vermont gloves, Vermont common sense!"

Sen. Bernie Sanders sits in the bleachers at the Capitol before Joe Biden is sworn in Wednesday as the 46th president of the United States. Brendan Smialowski / Getty Images

Sen. Bernie Sanders has never been one for formalities.

“It’s just not my style,” the Vermont senator and former presidential candidate once told The New York Times.

What is his style?

Practical, even — or perhaps especially — during a presidential inauguration.

While it was officially President Joe Biden’s day, Sanders incidentally stole the show during the inauguration ceremonies Wednesday, arriving in a brown hooded Burton jacket (sold out, in case you were wondering) and Vermont-made wool mittens.

“Bernie absolutely crushing vermont dadcore,” wrote one Twitter user.

“Just full Vermont grandfather,” said another.

For close followers of Sanders, his entrance was likely unsurprising. Even in a world dominated by suits, the 79-year-old self-described democratic socialist has consistently championed an outdoorsy gorpcore aesthetic over the course of his long congressional career and two presidential campaigns. After all, Vermont winters (and New Hampshire and Iowa winters) get cold.

However, the shot of Sanders sitting — alone, socially distanced — in the Capitol seats while the country awaited Biden’s swearing in still proved to be prime meme material for Twitter users.

Michigan Rep. Rashida Tlaib even remarked that she wanted Sanders’s mittens, which have been an internet sensation since last winter. As BuzzFeed reporter Ruby Cramer noted, the wool mittens are sold by an Essex Junction teacher and “made from repurposed wool sweaters and lined with fleece made from recycled plastic bottles.”

According to the Vermont-based magazine Seven Days, Sanders received the mittens as a gift during the 2019 holidays and has been spotted wearing them since.

Sanders similarly wore a different Burton jacket during President Donald Trump’s inauguration in 2017.

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However, the gray-brown Burton jacket he wore Wednesday has become a mainstay of his wardrobe. Some noticed that Sanders wore the same waterproof down jacket during a viral — and equally meme-able — campaign ad last year.

His wife, Jane O’Meara Sanders, tweeted Wednesday afternoon that their son Dave actually worked with Jake Burton, the founder of the Vermont-based snowboard company, on a limited-edition jacket with the senator’s face on the back(!).

“Bernie really liked it, so Dave got him one — without his image — for Christmas,” O’Meara Sanders said. “Vermont jacket, Vermont gloves, Vermont common sense!”

Still, it wasn’t long before the gloves were off, literally. Shortly after Biden was sworn in, Sanders appeared on CBS — in a suit and with no mittens — criticizing Trump’s absence from the ceremonies and calling for “bold action” from Congress and the administration to address the health and economic impacts of the pandemic. In an essay Wednesday in the Guardian, the incoming Senate budget committee chairman called on Democrats to take advantage of their slim congressional majority to pass a more robust relief package and address the country’s structural inequalities.

“The people are demanding action,” Sanders said Wednesday.

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