Why Bernie Sanders's woollen mittens were the surprise fashion hit of the Biden inauguration

The US senator wore a pair of gloves crafted by a schoolteacher from repurposed jumpers

Former presidential candidate, Senator Bernie Sanders (D-Vermont) sits in the bleachers on Capitol Hill before Joe Biden is sworn in as the 46th US President on January 20, 2021, at the US Capitol in Washington, DC. / AFP / Brendan SMIALOWSKI

There was Lady Gaga's gold dove brooch. Michelle Obama's statement belt. Dr Jill Biden's all-blue look. And then there were Bernie Sanders's mittens.

On a day when the fashion spotlight tends to fall on the incoming first lady, the inauguration of US President Joe Biden gave the world an unexpected new sartorial star.

US Senator Sanders trended on social media throughout Wednesday, thanks to his wintry choice of accessory.

The politician and former presidential candidate, 79, teamed a hardy khaki parka and face mask with the patterned accessories, as he rugged up for Biden's swearing-in ceremony in a chilly Washington DC.

Amid a sea of suits, Sanders's practical ensemble won acclaim from social media commenters, as he quickly inspired a flurry of memes.

However, this is not the first time Sanders has sported the brown and blue design.

The Vermont senator was first spotted donning the distinctive mittens last year, during the Seacoast Women's March in New Hampshire. Such was the reaction to the accessories on their initial debut, the mittens were rewarded with their own Twitter account: @BerniesMittens.

And the story behind his toasty, autumnal-hued mittens is as heartwarming as it is hand-warming.

The gloves were gifted to Sanders by Vermont schoolteacher Jen Ellis about three years ago, and are crafted out of repurposed jumpers.

The sustainable fashion accessories are also lined with fleece made from recycled plastic bottles.

However, while Ellis had been selling the mittens online, she confirmed her stock had been depleted following interest after the inauguration.

"Thanks for all the interest in Bernie's mittens! It truly has been an amazing and historic day! I'm so flattered that Bernie wore them to the inauguration," the teacher posted on Twitter.

"Sadly, I have no more mittens for sale. There are a lot of great crafters on Etsy who make them."

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