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All The President’s Socks: The Top 13 Pairs Worn by George H.W. Bush

4 minute read

We first honed in on former President George H.W. Bush’s fancy for flashy footwear last April when he wore hot pink socks to the dedication of his son’s presidential library, the George W. Bush Presidential Center in Dallas, Texas.

It seems like 41 only becomes more dapper with age. Between sky-diving on his 75th and 85th birthdays, and singing with hospital staff during a hospitalization for bronchitis, he’s quickly turning into everybody’s favorite great-grandpa. And whether he’s attending a commencement ceremony or meeting a gaggle of cheerleaders, his ankles are always dressed for the occasion. And it pays off, literally, as the Republican National Committee recently raised $1 million by giving supporters who made donations of $35 or more a pair of socks with the former president’s signature over orange, yellow, blue and green stripes.

So in honor of his 90th birthday today, here’s a glimpse at some of Bush 41’s sporty ankle-wear, an update to last year’s list that is sure to knock your socks off.


David J. Phillip / AP

Our favorite pair: the socks with his face on them that he wore on the sidelines before the New England Patriots and Houston Texans faced off on Dec. 1, 2013. They are the surest sign that he knows we are watching his feet everywhere he goes.

Clinton Foundation via the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland / AP

Here, former President Bill Clinton (left) is “envious” of Bush’s “#sockswag”, the cactus-themed socks, at Bush’s home in Kennebunkport, Maine. On Oct. 26, 2013, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland in Maine auctioned off the pair with a letter of authenticity signed by Bush that jokes, “I absolutely love a crazy pair of socks … Barbara, on the other hand, has had enough.”

These deserve a close-up:


Office of President George H. W. Bush / AP

He donned Superman socks while driving around his family’s compound in Kennebunkport, Maine, on his 89th birthday last year.

Close-up view:

Paul Marotta / Getty Images

He received an honorary degree at the Harvard University’s Commencement on May 29, 2014, while wearing technicolor triangle socks. The footwear was loud, but not loud enough to outshine fellow honorary degree recipient the Queen of Soul, who sang the national anthem at the opening of the ceremony

Aaron M. Sprecher / AP

He sported maroon argyle Texas A&M socks while watching tennis at the Fayez Sarofim & Co. U.S. Men’s Clay Court Championships at Houston’s River Oaks Country Club, April 11, 2014.

Tony Gutierrez / AP

Navy-and-red socks with the letters GB are part of his Sunday football attire at the NFL football game between Houston Texans and the Oakland Raiders, Nov. 17, 2013.

David J. Phillip / AP

The former president compares Houston Texan socks with the team’s owner Bob McNair (left) at a NFL football game between the Texans and the Jacksonville Jaguars in Houston, Nov. 24, 2013.

Carolyn Kaster / AP

He wore red-striped socks during a July 15, 2013, event in the East Room of the White House to honor the 5,000th Daily Point of Light Award winner. In his 1989 inaugural address, Bush 41 described U.S. community organizations that serve others as “a Thousand Points of Light.”

Charles Dharapak—AP

Seen here at the April 25, 2013 dedication of the George W. Bush presidential library on the campus of Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas, George H.W. Bush was resplendent in pink socks with small blue designs. (The calves of first lady Michelle Obama and President Barack Obama can be seen at left.) Granddaughter Jenna Bush Hager was a fan:

Smiley N. Pool—Houston Chronicle/AP

Boasting American flag socks, Bush poses for a group photo with the newly-announced Houston Texans cheerleaders during a ceremony in Houston, April 17, 2013. He handed each cheerleader a rose during a special ceremony and sported some extremely patriotic hosiery.

Bill O'Leary—The Washington Post/Getty Images

Again going with the patriotic socks, Bush and his wife, Barbara Bush, arrive at the White House East Room for the unveiling of his son’s official portrait in Washington, DC., May, 31, 2012.

Tom Pennington—Getty Images

H.W. endorsed Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney following this meeting in Bush’s office in Houston, on March 29, 2012. But ignore the politicking and body language for a second and note the lavender — dare we say… purple? — socks. A subtle message of bipartisanship, perhaps?

Michael Loccisano—Getty Images for HBO

Bush poses in a pair of festive salmon socks with Brian Mulroney, the former prime minister of Canada, along with aide Jim Appleby and film producer Jerry Weintraub at a screening of 41, an HBO Documentary of his life, in Kennebunkport, Maine, June 12, 2012.

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Write to Olivia B. Waxman at olivia.waxman@time.com