The famous 51 socks

1 Jaeger socks vintage booklet cover

I will spare you the empty protest that I don’t collect Jaeger things. It’s obvious – even to me – that I do.

This tiny (6.5 x 11.5cm) booklet is a really effortful piece of promotional material. Nice illustration, witty copy, design and delivery. The slightly mad cover illustration of legs with faces opens to interchangeable flaps depicting men wearing socks. I have always loved those multiple choice flap books. Books whose pages do things are pleasing. If you have to promote a sock, this is no bad way to do it.

The Jaeger 51 sock was no ordinary sock but the ‘sock of socks’ (take a breath): ‘Available in pure botany wool in six and three rib, 11 plain, but interesting, colours, 9 flecked colours, in ankle length, and in knee length. All extraordinarily hard-wearing (nylon reinforcements at heel and toe take care of that) and non-shrink, due to the famous Jaeger shrink-resisting finish.’

The fabulous cover legend ‘Are all men’s legs alike?’ is answered: ‘Yes, all over the world men’s legs (with – let’s face it – individual variations as to size and shape) look good and feel comfy in a pair of Jaeger’s famous 51 socks.’

This is great copy. Each illustration (of a costumed man of the world) is accompanied by a comment. The boozy British cricket chap says ‘ Cheers to 51!’, the Scottish chap “Och Aye, how I treasure ma monny’. The rest are beyond my language skills, but you get the drift.

How did they pack so much into so little? I’d imagine this was a Colman, Prentis and Varley production. They made some of the great advertising stuff of mid last century. And had copywriters like poet Peter Quennell and Fay Weldon.

Just one of the ideas in this little sweetie would make a client happy these days. How perky then Jaeger must have felt when they were offered this.

Jaeger 51 socks vintage booklet spread

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