Ken Bone Didn’t Really Want to Wear that Red Sweater to the Debate

Ken Bone
Ken Bone

He swapped his suit for the Sweater! Ken Bone, an undecided voter, stole the internet’s collective heart with his wardrobe choice for the second presidential debate on Sunday, October 9. The bespectacled coal plant operator wore a bright red cable-knit sweater over a crisp white button-down along with a pair of khakis to pose a question about energy policy. Between his style statement and his disposable camera that he used to snap post-debate moments, Bone became a trending topic that same night.

Bone, who now has over 213,000 Twitter followers (compared to his seven before the debate) and a sexy Yandy costume in his likeness, revealed that the debate-stealing top was actually his second choice after splitting his pants on the way to the debate. 

“I had a really nice olive suit, and my mother would have been very proud to see me wearing it on television, but apparently I have gained about 30 pounds,” Bone told CNN Newsroom on October 10. “And when I went to get in my car the morning of the debate, I split the seat of my pants all the way open. So the red sweater is plan B. I’m glad it worked out.”

Luckily, Bone snapped a photo of his original #OOTD before the devastating loss. “The olive suit before it was killed! #stylish,” he captioned an October 12 tweet, where he rocked the ensemble along with a lavender-colored button-down and matching plaid tie.

Unsurprisingly, the post racked up plenty of likes (over 15,000 to date, to be exact) as well as generous offers from retailers and fans alike. “Ken! We mourn this loss. Can we send you a replacement?” men’s fashion retailer Frank + Oak wrote. But @PhillyPhrenetic upped the ante by starting a GoFundMe to Buy Ken Bone a New Olive Suit. The campaign has already raised $605 of the $1,000 goal.

In addition to his newfound fame, Bone also has T-shirts and sweatshirts for sale bearing his likeness. 

"As much fun as I have been having, I wanted to ensure that something good came out of all of this," he said in a statement. The shirts are available on Represent.com, and sales will benefit the St. Patrick's Center to help end homelessness in St. Louis.

Even though Bone is taking his new status as a style icon in stride, he’s just happy to be a part of the larger conversation — the upcoming election in November.

"I went from last night having seven Twitter followers, two of which were my grandmother. … Now I have several hundred," he told CNN. "I am not sure why they care about what I have to say, but I'm glad they're engaged in the political process."

Sign up now for the Us Weekly newsletter to get breaking celebrity news, hot pics and more delivered straight to your inbox!

Want stories like these delivered straight to your phone? Download the Us Weekly iPhone app now!