The Sweet Story Behind Bernie Sanders' Inauguration Day Mittens

He's worn them before.

The sweet story behind Bernie Sanders' Inauguration Day mittens.
SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images

Politicians have been sending powerful messages with their Inauguration Day outfits. Vice President Kamala Harris, Hillary Clinton, and Michelle Obama all wore purple to signify loyalty, while Jill Biden dressed in head-to-toe blue to emit trust and a sense of calm. Another notable wardrobe choice? Bernie Sanders' mittens.

At today's ceremony, the Vermont senator accented his muted but practical getup with striped mittens, which stood out with their oversize fit and zigzagged stripes. They're actually a handmade gift from Jen Ellis, a teacher and supporter from Vermont, that the politician has worn on the campaign trail over the past couple of years. And, in true Sanders fashion, the mittens are sustainably made: The materials are a mix of repurposed wool sweaters with a fleece lining that's made from recycled plastic bottles.

Ellis revealed on Twitter shortly after the ceremony that she received an influx of inquiries about the knit mittens. "I am completely humbled by the huge support for Bernie and the mittens I made for him!!" she wrote. "What started out as a simple act of kindness more than two years ago has grown into something beyond my imagination." She then shared the contact info for her business partner who helped design the pair Sanders wore, which feature a brown, cream, and white fair isle-style print.

In a sea of suits and designer dresses, Sanders' pragmatic sartorial choice stood out as yet another fashion piece that carried meaning at the inauguration.