The photograph for the album’s cover was taken by Chris Gabrin outside Axfords underwear and lingerie shop at 306 Vauxhall Bridge Road, Westminster, close to Victoria Station. Gabrin’s Mini van and the Woolworths store on the opposite side of the road can be seen reflected in the shop window, although Gabrin was careful to position himself so that Dury would hide his own reflection. The child next to Dury on the cover photograph is his son Baxter Dury. Ian Dury always insisted that Baxter had just run into shot as the photograph was taken, but in adulthood Baxter questioned this version of events, believing that the photograph appears too posed to be impromptu. Gabrin said, “I only shot 24 exposures and Baxter was in just four of them. As soon as the films were developed Ian came round and we immediately chose the same shot. We were so excited by the picture that we went straight into my darkroom and made the first print. The album title New Boots and Panties was subsequently coined by Ian.
Dury and Stiff’s in-house designer Barney Bubbles cropped the photo and added the hand-drawn lettering on the front and back covers. The phrase ‘There’s nothing wrong with it!!’ appears on the back cover below the track listing: this was apparently the reaction of the Blockheads upon hearing the first playback of the finished record.
Dury later discovered that, unknown to him at the time, his father Bill had died in 1968 in a bedsit just around the corner from where the photograph was taken. Axfords closed its London store in 1990 to concentrate on running the family business from its Brighton factory.