With the eyes of the country on Washington, Inauguration Day is often a time for political leaders to show up in their finest and most fashionable outfits. In many cases, elected officials and gathered luminaries use their clothing to make statements, as Lady Gaga did when she wore a giant gilded dove that she said was a call for peace.
This year, many were paying attention to the sartorial choices of men at the inauguration — with a particular focus on Senator Bernie Sanders, who showed up in a heavy winter coat and patterned wool mittens.
With chilly weather and breezy conditions in Washington, Mr. Sanders’s outfit was practical. But it stood out amid a sea of overcoats, including the two Ralph Lauren coats worn by President Biden and Doug Emhoff, the husband of Vice President Kamala Harris.
Mr. Sanders, a Vermont politician who ran two presidential primary campaigns on a populist, anti-establishment message, later said in an interview with CBS News that the weather was his primary concern — not fashion.
“In Vermont, we dress warm. We know something about the cold,” Mr. Sanders said, chuckling. “And we’re not so concerned about good fashion. We want to keep warm. And that’s what I did today.”
Mr. Sanders’s mittens, in a sort of brown and cream Himalayan sweater pattern, quickly got their own hashtag. Jen Ellis, a Vermont schoolteacher, claimed ownership in a tweet.
“I made Bernie’s mittens as a gift a couple years ago,” she wrote, posting a photo of other similar creations. “They are made from repurposed wool sweaters and lined with fleece (made from recycled plastic bottles).”
Warmth was a concern that appeared to be shared by Mr. Emhoff, who became the country’s first Second Gentleman after Ms. Harris was sworn in. In addition to the coat, he wore a gray suit by Ralph Lauren and a black mask, gloves and tie.
It was a muted palate against which Ms. Harris, in bright purple, could shine as she stepped into the history books as the country’s first woman vice president.
But the man whose inaugural fashion choices might have most stood out was the country singer Garth Brooks, who performed “Amazing Grace” near the end of the swearing-in ceremony.
Mr. Brooks, a last-minute addition to the lineup, emerged from the Capitol in a black cowboy hat, a black blazer and shirt and dark denim jeans — a considerably dressed-down look compared to the formal suits and ties surrounding him.
In deference to the occasion, he removed his hat, which is long a staple of his look, before he began to sing.