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Knock-Offs: How to Spot a Fake Lacoste and Other Imitation Clothing

Published 12/18/07 (Modified 6/17/11)
By MoneyBlueBook

Knock-Offs: How to Spot a Fake Lacoste and Other Imitation Clothing

I went to gradate school in the run down city of Baltimore, Maryland. I used to joke with my friends that more people in Baltimore City owned and carried around designer Louis Vuitton handbags than in any other city in the world. When I went to school there it seemed like every corner near the city courthouse had a vendor hawking fake designer brand products like Prada, Coach, and even Polo Ralph Lauren. Most of the merchandise were no doubt fakes - cheaply made knock offs made in countries like China, a country known for its lax efforts in stopping piracy in the marketplace.

I want to focus my analysis on the Lacoste designer clothing brand line. Companies like Lacoste spend a great deal of investment on brand building and quality control. However, with the prevalence of overseas sweatshops and people buying Lacoste clothing online, fake knockoffs have been spreading through the internet marketplace like wildfire and many buyers are unwittingly ending up with fakes. While a genuine Lacoste polo shirt can cost an average of $60-75 per shirt, buyers of fakes are frequently getting ripped off for shoddy products worth substantially less. Whether it makes any sense to pay so much for a mere polo shirt is another matter. The fact is, buyers have to be able to ensure they are getting the high end quality product they are paying top dollar for.

Unlike authentic Lacoste clothing, fakes and knock offs simply don't wear and feel like the real thing. Sometimes it's easy to spot the fake, but sometimes the differences are much more subtle. It's easy to know it's a fake when you are only paying $10 for a supposedly genuine Lacoste shirt off a street vendor, but what about when you are buying online? Many of the tips and telltale signs provided below can also be used for other designer clothing brands as well.

Here Are Some Of The Things To Look Out For To Determine Whether A Lacoste Shirt Is A Genuine Or Fake

1) The Lacoste Crocodile Patch - Lacoste's famous trademark symbol is its Lacoste crocodile logo patch. This is one of the easiest way to spot a fake. A genuine Lacoste crocodile should be very distinct and should show scales, claws, and teeth. Any variation from this detailed standard should be deemed a fake, as high end designer brands like Lacoste spend a great deal of effort to ensure quality and uniformity. For the men's polo shirts, the crocodile is embroidered on a patch then sewn onto the shirt, rather than printed directly on the shirt. In the women's, it is printed onto the shirt. The Lacoste crocodile symbol should be attached seamlessly with no obvious white stitch marks attaching the patch to the shirt.

2) Crocodile Alignment - On men's polos, the crocodile is on the left hand side, between the bottom stitching and the second button. In the image displayed, I want to draw your attention to the genuine blue Lacoste shirt on the right hand side labeled "Real" - notice how the crocodile logo is aligned directly between the lower button and the bottom stitching. This is an authentic shirt. Contrast that with the pirated yellow shirt on the left side labeled "Fake" where the logo is instead aligned with the bottom placket stitching. This is one of the easiest way to tell a fake from a real one.

3) Pearl Buttons - Genuine Lacoste polo shirts have real pearl buttons, known as mother of pearl. Since the pearls are naturally found, no two patterns should be the same. Fakes usually have mass produced plastic buttons. The real Lacoste buttons should not have anything printed on them either. If they have the word "Lacoste" on the button, the shirt is a fake.

4) Unusually Low Cost - Lacoste is a high end, fairly expensive designer brand. As such, prices are usually high and for good reason since the products are usually of very high quality design and material. Prices are usually around $60-72 for a single polo shirt. If you discover prices that are extraordinarily different, you are most likely dealing with a fake. If you are only paying $10 for the shirt, your alarm and antennae should be going off.

5) Cloth Material - Genuine Lacoste clothing should be made of 100% soft cotton and neatly threaded. There should be little to no loose threading as is frequently found on shoddy and inferior knockoffs. The cuffs on the sleeves should not appear shredded and the stitching should not come loose only after a few washes.

6) Sizes - Lacoste clothing are sized using numbers, rather than the usual letters or words, e.g. sizes 3, 4 , 5. They do not come in sizes utilizing the words "small", "medium", or "large".

7) Method of Sale and Purchase - Many eBay sellers will insist and claim that their Lacoste products are real and authentic, but 90% of them are either wrong or lying. Unfortunately, even by checking their feedbacks isn't necessarily sufficient to protect you from fakes since many buyers themselves cannot readily distinguish the fakes from the real thing until it is too late. Lacoste does not have factory discount outlets, but sells its products through select distributors at premium prices. Be careful if you decide to buy through an online auction or through an amateur supplier based in Asia as many are the works of scam artists. I highly advise against buying from such shady sources and recommend sticking with more reputable and established shops.

Where To Buy Genuine Lacoste Polo, and Other Luxury Brand Clothing Products:

The best and most reliable source for genuine Lacoste products is from an actual Lacoste branded store or from a major department store retailer like Macy's, Nordstrom's, Bloomingdale's, or Neiman Marcus. From any other place like eBay, Craigslist, or some street side China Town type vendor - you're just asking for trouble so please be careful! Those type of deals will appear to be substantially cheaper, but remember, you get what you pay for.

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115 Responses to “Knock-Offs | Fake Lacoste | Imitation Clothing | Money Blue Book” 

  1. Alec says:

    If anybody's still answering here, I have a question. In the past, has Lacoste made shirts where the crocodile logo on the chest of the shirt is the SAME color as the shirt?

    I've seen three shirts at a local resale shop where this is the case. Recently, I've been to Macy's and the Lacoste website and have seen that they sell shirts where the crocodile is large, and it's the same color as the shirt, but I've never seen a small, same color crocodile on a new shirt.

    Are monochrome shirts knock-offs?

  2. Vince says:

    Lacoste actually does have outlet stores. And many of the eBay sellers who sell high end clothes, such as Lacoste, are ones who receive the products that failed inspection. So maybe a little dirt on the packaging, or a small thread hanging. That is why they sell it so cheap. That is not to say that you an always trust those sellers, I'm just saying that sometimes just beacuse something is cheap, does not mean it is fake. I bought a few Gucci sunglasses off eBay and they were real, trust me I know when something is real, but the reason I could get them for $50-60 was because the outer box had some problems, or the GUCCI logo on the cleaning cloth was misaligned, or some tags were missing. So low cost does not instantly mean it is fake, you just need to know how to spot a fake.

  3. Anon says:

    Thanks for the tip. Thanks to you I just retracted a bid on eBay because the user stated it was a genuine lacoste shirt when I found out from this site it wasn't. Thanks a lot.

  4. Xaw13 says:


    not only in the past, they still produce them!
    it's the "Vintage Collection" : the crocodile is the same color as the polo, the fabric seems old, the color is lighter, etc.
    and there are two versions : one with a normal sized croc and one with an over sized one

    you can see all the type of polos (Original (L1212), Vintage, Italian, Slim Fit, ...) on their new website : http://shop-fr.lacoste.com/

    and here are the polos : http://shop-fr.lacoste.com/Homme/5110000,fr_FR,sc.html

  5. Deesa says:

    I bought an absolutely %100 lacoste shirt from Macy's with mother of pearl buttons and everything. The whole checklist above applies except for the allignment of the crocodile. It is in fact closer to the bottom as it appears to be on the picture of the fake shirt you posted. I even compared this to the same exact shirt at Lacoste (the retail store) and it is the same, so I don't think item #2 applies to real lacoste shirts.

  6. Deesa says:

    By the way Alec and Xaw13, the shirt i just spoke about in the previous post is from the 'Vintage Lacoste' collection which I have right in front of me as we speak with the tag still on. The crocodile on this shirt is small and the same color as the shirt because the garment is vintage washed as described on the tag:
    'This garment with a worn look is part of the 'Vintage-Lacoste' lineage. The pigments used in the dyeing process give it a natural subtle colour, as though weathered by time, and make it incredibly soft. This is what makes it different and unique. The worn look will develop over time and the colour will continue to lighten. We recommend washing it separately.'

  7. Xaw13 says:


    i have three of them :)

    the position of the crocodile depends on the collection you have : the size of the logo can change, the size of the collar and the number of buttons too

    so the tips given in this article are just hints and only apply for the "Original Chemise" (L1212)

  8. yohan fernando says:

    thanks for letting us know these facts

  9. T. Jackson says:

    No 1. When did you go to school in Baltimore? I was born & raised here and I've never seen street vendres selling anything downtown they way you're describing. The only venders I've ever seen are the ones permitted to sell Orioles & Ravens merchandise
    No. 2. Where are you from, just because you had a bad experience here doesn't give you the right to talk down Baltimore like we're the scum of the earth, not everyone here are criminals or thugs. I'll bet you I could come to your city and find crime there also.
    No. 3. Lacoste does have a factory discount outlet. My wife is from The Hamptons and about ten miles from her parents home in a town called Riverhead NY they hsve an outlet mall called The Tangers Outlet, where guess what there is big as day a Lacoste Factory Discount Store where I just purchased ten shirts at a cheaper price than at Neiman Marcus

  10. ravens says:

    Guys guys for your info, In peru you cannot go to outlets or the showroom of Lacoste. Unless you are buying quantities and know somebody there, Devanlay even with a wad full of money they will say no, that i have seen say no to people trying to buy from them 60k pieces. They dont care, they wont sell to anybody out there, so when they are saying outlets from Peru. fake fake fake

  11. cory says:

    lol poor people are too funny good guide too i'll just stick to the lacoste outlet store nearby

  12. rona0213 says:

    I bought all my Lacoste shirts from lacoste premium outlet store. Not all
    Lacoste shirt have mother of pearl buttons and the croc logo differ in size
    depending on design. Classic pique have 2 mother of pearl buttons. Stripes
    design lacoste shirts have different kind of buttons, the croc logo is a little bit
    smaller than of the classic pique. There are also Andy Rodick editions with big
    croc logo on them. The real lacoste you can feel it right away by the quality of
    wormanship and fabric. Knock off nowadays are getting better, the fabric and
    and workmanship are of good quality for a fraction of the cost. For those who
    can't afford to buy authentic high quality replica would be a good option afterall
    no ones gonna touch nor look closely nor investigate the shirt you are wearing.

  13. frankie says:

    Just to say i have got a new one of ebay.co.uk for ��18 and i have done all the checks and it is defo real :) so just so people know there are bargains out there :D

  14. Saiko says:

    The Lacoste shirts that have a gator the same color as the shirt are from the 'vintage' line of shirts. They are 100% legit.

    I've bought many a fake and real Lacoste shirts, and as someone has already said, if the quality of the 'fake' is A+++, then you cannot tell a difference. They are the same shirt, minus the hit your wallet takes.

    I outsourced a few different companies in China to find the best manufacturer, then continued to order from them. Typically, they'll take test orders of only 2-3 shirts so you can see what the quality is like. Some of the shirts fell apart before I wore them, some are still in my closet from 4+ years ago. It's pretty much chance as to what kind of quality you'll get.

    In some instances, I like the fake ones since they're much longer than legit Lacoste shirts. I find that the 'real' shirts often shrink way too much if you accidentally toss them in the dryers v. line drying them.

  15. creen says:

    if the polo shirt has three buttons where the right position of the croc to say it is fake or real?

  16. CJ says:

    Some of this isn't necessarily true though. I have a few of these shirts from Nordstrom (so definitely genuine) and they can be a very cheap quality. Most of them had stitching coming out after the first wash and they are never soft, always scratchy no matter how or what I use to wash them. I would compare the quality to something you could buy at Wal-Mart. I know this is an article on how to spot a fake but it would be very hard to do so in reality.

  17. Gelacio Carrera says:

    great tips.. i have seen so many fakes and nothing like the real thing. got the lacoste polo matching with the glasses... i am aware i got the real and hate those wearing the fake.

  18. Fvck Required says:

    The "author" of this article must own stock in Lacoste.

    Only a status seeking zombie would pay anywhere near $60-75 bucks for a polo shirt. Thats ridiculous! And fvck perl buttons. These shirts don't cost anywhere near that much too manufacture. Brand names like Lacoste prey on social seeking nutballs who will pay anything to "fit in". The value is all in the PERCEPTION of the product not the product itself (in this case). $70 knit shirts are for suckers!

    I wish China made knock offs back in the 80s when my poor grandmother spent her whole fvkcin pay check on a couple of these overpriced washrags for me to go to school in. Most of the knock offs have the real little alligator and thats all that matters. 99.99% of people out there will never know the difference and the knock offs are not as shoddy as the author makes it seem. So whos the sucker?

    Forget these pompus douchebags and go buy yourself 3 or 4 knock offs for the same price you'll pay for a "real" one. Most of them WILL last if you take care of them and wash them right. Put money in the little guys pocket and stop making rich assholes richer. If not, keep having your thoughts emailed to you, suckers...

  19. Beth says:

    Authentic Lacoste Outlet located at Sawgrass Mills, Sunrise, Florida (suburb of Ft. Lauderdale about 45 minutes north of Miami). They have "clearance" racks sometimes. Tourists come from South America buy hundreds of $$$ worth of shirts at a time at $60+ each. Boggles my mind! I came to this site to check out a polo with LARGE alligator my son's friend didn't want any more and said he purchased at Sawgrass Mills. Placement is directly opposite the 3rd button and the gator is edged in white stitching.

  20. Clare Morales says:

    How can I tell a real Lacoste (Charlotte) watch from a fake one?

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