She Made Bernie Sanders' Viral Mitten Look
Photo Credit: Greg E Mathieson Sr/MAI/Shutterstock
No garment of clothing has made more of a splash in 2021 than Sen. Bernie Sanders' mittens at President Joe Biden's inauguration. But no one has been more surprised about the mitten fanfare than their creator: Vermont teacher Jen Ellis.
On Wednesday, Sanders appeared at Biden's swearing-in ceremony in a utilitarian look: A Burton Snowboards parka and brown and cream wool mittens. After images of him sitting bundled up went viral, the parka began selling out from retailers and everyone wanted to know: Where did those mittens come from?
Well, second-grade teacher Ellis gifted the handmade mittens to Sanders back in 2016. In an interview with NPR, Ellis explained that she'd made the mittens as part of presents she'd put together for her daughter's teachers and that Sanders' daughter-in-law actually owned the preschool Ellis' daughter attended. That led to Ellis getting a pair of mittens to Sen. Sanders, who appears to have kept them close ever since.
I hate to disappoint people, but ... there’s no possible way I could make 6,000 pairs of mittens.
The 42-year-old told the outlet that she was initially clued into mitten hype when Sanders started wearing the mittens on the campaign trail.
"There was some Twitter buzz then," explained Ellis of that time, before adding: "I'm so excited that he likes the mittens and he wants to wear them. They are practical and warm, and they look nice. And, yeah, I had no idea that this is what would happen."
In another interview with Jewish Insider last week, Ellis said she'd received "approximately 6,000 emails" from fans inquiring about getting a pair of mittens from her.
“I don’t have any mittens to sell," said Ellis, who added that she doesn't "really do it a lot anymore" and is "flattered that they want them."
However, she insists that "there are lots of people on Etsy who sell them and hopefully people will get some business from them."
"But I’m not going to quit my day job. I am a second-grade teacher, and I’m a mom, and all that keeps me really busy," she told Jewish Insider. “There’s no possible way I could make 6,000 pairs of mittens, and every time I go into my email, another several hundred people have emailed me. I hate to disappoint people, but the mittens, they’re one-of-a-kind and they’re unique and sometimes in this world, you just can’t get everything you want.”
Well, we'll just have to settle for some similar ones on Etsy if we're going to channel Bernie's sensible fashions. But, if you're inspired by Ellis' work, perhaps you can try...making your own?