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April Fool's Day Fashion Hoaxes
Paris All Dressed Up. (1951)
French fashion designer Jean Dessès used photomontages to dress Parisian landmarks in his gowns. (Top) The column in the Place Vendome wore a strapless gown draped with roses. (Bottom) In sight of the Eiffel Tower, a street lamp sported a softly tailored beige and brown wool suit and a brown felt hat. More…
“April Doesn’t Fool When It Comes To Rain!”. (1960)
Advertisement for Alligator Raincoats More…
Bearskin Helmets Need Trimming. (1980)
Soldier, the magazine of the British Army, revealed that the fur on the bearskin helmets worn by the Irish guards while on duty at Buckingham Palace keeps growing and needs to be regularly trimmed: The most hair-raising fact about the bearskins has been discovered by scientists recently. The skins retain an original hormone, which lives on after the animal has been skinned. Scientists call it otiose and it is hoped it can be put to use in medical research — especially into baldness. The article quoted Maj. Ursa who noted, "Bears hibernate in the winter and the amazing thing is that in the spring the skins really start to sprout." An accompanying photo showed Guardsmen sitting in an More…
Rat Fur Coats. (1980)
The South African Johannesburg Star ran a story exposing an illicit ring of rat furriers. It said the police had raided a sewer where the ratters were breeding a special strain of imported Irish rats and selling the pelts as mink, seal skin, and other furs. Hundreds of rat fur coats had been sold. Women were warned that if their coats smelled fishy, they were probably made of rat fur. As a result of the story, furriers were besieged with calls from worried customers. After receiving complaints, the Star reminded its readers that the story had been run on April 1st. More…
The Interfering Brassieres. (1982)
The Daily Mail published an article titled "Do not adjust your set—it could be your bra!" in which it reported that 10,000 brassieres made by a local manufacturer had developed a serious problem. The support wire in the bras had been fashioned out of specially treated copper originally been designed for use in fire alarms. When this wire came into contact with nylon and body heat, it was producing static electricity which, in turn, was being emitted by thousands of unsuspecting women, causing interference with the reception of television signals throughout the country. As the article put it, "Widespread television interference, which has brought complaints from viewers all over Britain More…
Thermal Ties. (1985)
ITV News ran a segment about a "thermal tie" developed by the British Department of Energy: "Our research has discovered that heat loss from the body is particularly important in the front of the chest, and this thermally insulated tie is to prevent heat loss from that part of the body." Conservative MP Anthony Beaumont-Dark reprimanded the DOE for participating in the prank, noting that such pranks were "OK for the music hall, but we do not expect this type of thing from government departments." More…

Imelda Marcos Auction. (1986)
TagesAnzeiger, a daily Zurich newspaper, reported that an auction of Imelda Marcos's clothes and jewelry was to be held at the Swiss Volksbank. Almost 30 people showed up for it. More…
Le Sac Pourii. (1986)
The Nashville Banner reported on the latest, trendsetting fashion from France—waterproof outer garments dubbed "Le Sac Pourii" by their designers. The garments strongly resembled plastic garbage bags. More…
Skirts For Men. (1992)
The Independent Diary reported that a popular men's fashion store in London was having great success selling skirts for men. After this report appeared, the store was "flooded with calls" from people trying to order them. (Of course, skirts for men are a real thing. The image comes from skortman.com, which will happily sell a skirt to any man.) More…
FatSox. (2000)
The Daily Mail revealed that American scientists had invented "FatSox" — socks made out of a revolutionary new material that actually sucked fat out of a person's body as they sweated. The discovery promised to "speed up the fight against flab without any extra effort." The socks employed a nylon polymer that reacted with a newly-patented compound, Tetrafloramezathine, in order to draw fat out of the bloodstream: "As the exerciser warms up, molecules in the sock are activated by the increased blood flow and the material draws out the fatty liquids, or lipds, from the body through the sweat." After a good workout, the socks, and the fat, could simply be thrown away. More…
Supreme Court Dress Code. (2001)
A special edition of the Denver Bar Association's newsletter, The Docket, described a new dress code adopted by the Colorado Supreme Court. Male attorneys would be required to wear blue blazers with a Colorado state seal displayed on the pocket, while female lawyers would have to wear plaid skirts. The Docket received five calls from lawyers concerned about this new dress code. More…
Liverpool Bikini Contest. (2003)
Liverpool DJ Kev Seed announced that the first 50 girls to pose in a bikini in the city centre would win racing tickets. Three bikini-clad young women braved the cold weather and appeared at the designated spot, but all for nothing. The contest was an April Fools joke. More…
Ask Jeeves Wardrobe Malfunction. (2004)
Visitors to the search engine AskJeeves.com found the company's signature animated butler clothed in an undershirt and patterned boxer shorts instead of his usual jacket and tie. The company attributed the new look to a "wardrobe malfunction." The Jeeves character was discontinued after 2006, and AskJeeves.com itself became Ask.com. More…
Undergoos. (2005)
Searchguild, a search-engine optimization company, debuted Undergoos.com, a Google parody. The Undergoos site claimed to allow internet users to search for and organize underwear. It had the motto: "Underwear by Google - Supporting 8,058,044,651 bosoms." "Just like our original motto 'Just search,' everything we do at UnderGoos is 'Just pants' (yes, we know that's not strictly true but it's an ethos thing). All of our underwear was carefully selected using PageRank(TM) (a uniquely democratic measure of how attractive Larry finds the model wearing them)." More…
iPop Bra. (2006)
PopXpress, a UK chain of stores dedicated to iPod and MP3 accessories, unveiled the iPop Bra, a product designed to help people keep "abreast of music": "The new bra incorporates a concealed pocket for your iPod or MP3 player and control buttons built into the fabric. Available in white or black and in cup sizes ranging from A to F, the ipopBra has been designed so you can keep the smallest of gadgets right next to your biggest assets." More…
Miracle Shirt. (2010)
An ad that ran in UK newspapers announced the debut of a new odor-fighting "Miracle Shirt." The shirt contained a "neutralizing agent" that was released from the "unique microfibre technology" as soon as the wearer started to sweat. "Slip it on and Bang! — the BO is gone," the ad promised. Those who visited the accompanying website, miracleshirt.co.uk, discovered the Miracle Shirt was an April Fool product designed to promote Gillette Anti Perspirant.
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All text Copyright © 2014 by Alex Boese, except where otherwise indicated. All rights reserved.