HOUSTON, Feb. 14 (UPI) -- Staff members at former U.S. President George H.W. Bush's Houston office said the ex-official's socks have "gotten more outrageous" in recent months.
Jean Becker, Bush's long-time chief of staff, said the 41st president has long been a fan of socks with bright colors and unusual designs, but recently he has been wearing them nearly all the time, including at functions such as last year's commencement ceremonies at Dartmouth College, and giving them out as gifts, the Houston Chronicle reported Tuesday.
"It's his trinket now," Becker said. "This is his signature gift. He's sort of becoming famous for his socks."
"He used to wear them on special occasions and not very often," Becker said. "But he has lately gotten more outrageous. Now he goes out of his way."
Becker said the "sock thing" has escalated in recent months, which saw the 87-year-old former president diagnosed with lower body parkinsonism and occasionally confined to a wheelchair.
Bush said he has long been a "colored socks fan," but his love of the garments "is not a big thing" in his life.
"I suspect some people think this old boy is a little strange," Bush said.