At most big political events, it’s usually (for better or worse – that’s a debate for another time) the women in attendance whose outfits are the topic of conversation.
And while this is certainly true of the Biden-Harris inauguration – in particular when it comes to Harris, whose purple ensemble showcased Black designers – it also found an unexpected sartorial icon this time around: Bernie Sanders.
That’s right, the Vermont senator who attended the inauguration of the man who beat him to the Democratic nomination became an instant icon for his bizarre and out of place, although decidedly charming, choice of outfit.
As soon as he appeared on the scene, people were quick to spot his jacket. The lowkey greige windbreaker would raise no eyebrows in most contexts, but in a sea of elegant designer looks, it really took centre stage.
Not only was it a far cry from his counterparts’ choice of outerwear, but eagle eyed internet sleuths also quickly realised it looked quite familiar.
The jacket appears to be the same one he wore for a campaign fundraising video released in December 2019.
The video itself is pretty unremarkable, but one particular line seemed to tickle people: “I am once again asking for your financial support…”
In the early months of 2020, before a bombastic election cycle and a global pandemic found themselves front and centre, it was pretty hard to scroll through social media without someone saying they were once again asking for something.
Like all good memes, it quickly became internet vernacular for, well, almost any occasion.
Was he subtweeting his own meme? Does he just… really love that jacket? (For those wondering, it was famously purchased at Burton, a Vermont-based company, but it’s sadly long sold out, for obvious reasons.)
And it wasn’t just the jacket. You may also spot Sanders sporting a pair of mittens, which despite looking pretty cozy were also notably at odds with the general vibe of the event.
Needless to say, people couldn’t get enough.
To add to the drama, over on Twitter people discovered the origin of the iconic mittens, and it could no be more on-brand.
The whole thing was such a vibe it became an instant meme in and of itself.
It’s fair to say that there is now officially a Senator Sanders for every occasion. Never change, Bernie.