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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. jada says:

    I bought a lacoste yesterday everythings seems ok except for the size of the croc its slightly bigger than the ones I bough in the UK(from a outlet). Is the croc size different in US and UK

  2. Dan says:

    Guys, it just depends on which specific style of Lacoste polo shirt you bought and where it was actually made. Also, I was in South America in one of the countries where they make the polos hirts and you can actualy buy them at the factory for 3 to 4 dollars because Lacoste outsources the making of the shirts in factories thorughout the world. Sometimes those $20 shirts you buy are actually made for Lacoste just sold with a much smaller markup price than a Macys, Nordstrom or Lacoste store would sell.

  3. J says:

    Dan exactly which south American country are you talking about? Cause it sounds like your talking rubbish to me

  4. Dan says:

    There are factories that produce Lacoste shirts in Peru and El Salvador that I know off. Heck, you can look at the tag on your shirt and it will tell you which country was the shirt made, J of course that is in the case you actually own one :-)

  5. J says:

    I was in South America in one of the countries where they make the polos hirts and you can actualy buy them at the factory for 3 to 4 dollars because Lacoste outsources the making of the shirts in factories thorughout the world.

    Thats what you said Dan. Which country was it then that you were in? Oh and I own 7 polos, and 2 knits smart ass. Bought from official Lacoste dealers. Go back and read number 7 Dan. Your talking rubbish

  6. BLASH says:

    hmmm very interesting && useful information
    the croc is a given because you can tell right away
    as for the placing on an original polo is new to me
    i always just go by the tag, since i live in the us, i always look for designed in france made in peru
    if i see "made in honduras" or something i immediately assume it's a fake
    but seeing as how i either go directly to the Lacoste store
    or shop on their actual website, i don't really worry about it being fake
    although i did buy this one polo and the buttons were black which kind of got me thinking
    but it feels just like the shirts i have bought at their store personally
    so i guess i agree that they don't always come in mother of pearl buttons
    funny how i just went through all my lacoste items right now to spot all these defects hahha
    now i think my favorite cardigan may be a fake lmao!
    but it's a winter item so i don't think it's fake at all
    i just hope my lacoste watch aint fake though

  7. Mark says:

    I am glad that I ran across this website. I recently purchased a Lacoste Polo from Ebay and the lady that sold it to me promised me that it was authentic and swore that she was from Peru where the shirts are made and swore that she had a connection with the manufacturer there and would get Lacoste Polos sent from Peru to the U.S. Well Lo and behold I have just tested that very shirt against the criteria in this posting and it is definitely a fake!! Thank you Raymond, you saved me several hundreds of dollars for I was prepared to fill my summer wardrobe with these replicas. Thanks for the community service that informs & empowers!!

  8. Matthew says:

    I purchased a lacoste short sleeve button front shirt from La Corte Ingles, a very reputable department store in Madrid in 2003, and the buttons on the shirt had "lacoste" etched on them, and were real mother of pearl.

    It's very possible that this style of button is only used on non-polo shirts or only in Europe, but such buttons do exist.

  9. bob says:

    yeah! right. well all you guys are too rich for me. if you want to buy real lacoste then fine pay a fortune and waste a fortune, but fakes do good for me. 99% of people can't tell the diffrence anyway, hence these help pages. thing is i'm not rich and if i can get away with wearing a fake and being the same as the rest of you i will buy fake. why should all you rich guys get good stuff when us normal guys who are struggling, get the rubbish. i like lacoste just as much as anyone else and will wear fake rather than none. besides the differences between real and fake are marginal. truth is most fakes are made buy the same guys who make the originals.

  10. Matt in Sydney says:

    This is a fantastic guide that is very conclusive. I am amazed though; I had one red Lacoste polo that I bought from eBay. I just bought another (light green one) from eBay from a different seller, and after comparing the two (before reading your guide) I swore that the light green one was a fake and the red one was real.

    Material - Red: denser weave, has a smooth feel. Green: lighter weave, diamond-pattern and appears coarse.

    Tags - Red: 2x, first tag reads "LACOSTE" but the font is small and not the typical font used by the brand. Says Designed in France. Made in France. Green: 2x, first tage reads "LACOSTE" in the proper font and in large print. Says Designed in France. Made in Peru. This threw me off as I thought it should be made in France but apparently this is not necessarily the case...

    Buttons - Red: Buttons are red plastic. Four holes for stitching per button. Read "LACOSTE". Green: MOP, two holes for stitching per button.

    Button holes - Red: Lower hole is vertically stitched, upper on is on diagonal. Both holes are tightly stitched and don't 'distort' easily. Green: Both holes horizontally stitched, the holes are easily opened and distorted out of shape.

    Croc - Red: Less detail on feet (no claws), slightly rounder appearance. Croc appears to be embroidered into the shirt. It is placed in line with the lower stitching of the polo opening. Green: More detail on feet (claws), more jagged appearance. Croc is on a patch that is sewn onto the shirt but whose extremeties (particularly the tail) are lifting slightly away from the shirt. Placement is halfway between the bottom stitching and the lower button.

    So after all that incredibly detailed examination? I couldn't believe it that the red shirt is supposedly the fake. The red shirt feels better on me; the green shirt's croc stitching can actually be felt on the skin of my bare chest and feels rough to be honest. The fact the croc also appeared to be 'peeling away' from the shirt didn't give me the impression of quality, and the fact the red shirt's buttons are more securely fastened with four stitch holes instead of the real one's two, and the button holes themselves feel loose on the green shirt compared to tight button holes on the red is really confusing.

    I totally agree with the authors rhetoric about questioning the value of a $50++ polo shirt in the first place, whilst you are entitled to the real thing when paying that kind of money. But when a supposed fake feels better than the real thing?? That is REALLY strange, and tends to convince me that I should stick to polos from Target or Country Road.

  11. silva says:

    hi, i would like to know if there is a lacosto polo shirt Gold edition ? the alligator logo in gold instead of the green or silver one ! is it fake or what ? coz ive searched the internet nd i couldnt find it ! please help .

  12. Michael Santos says:

    I guess the article is trying to say " BUY IN MACY"S ONLY "

    I travel a lot , shop and I love Lacoste . I have more than 100 . I bought them In Paris , Madrid , Los Angeles , Miami , (authorized Lacoste outlets) and 2 years ago I was in Peru , and I bought some in the same factory. I have Vintage , Sport Collection , Striped ..you name it

    99 % of them have LACOSTE printed on the buttons , come on ...
    I have 2or 3 from Macy's ,(gift from my mother ) and they have the Pearl buttons .

    Pearl buttons are exclusive of Macy's?? ...don't know , it seems like it .
    Marketing trick ? I guess ...

    Of course , you have to look at the basic things ; the Knit, the tag , and the logo.

    PS : Baltimore is the one of the most beautiful cities in the US, with the nicest people in the world , and I have never seen people selling fake Lacoste shirts there.

  13. Raymond says:


    Are we talking about the same Baltimore City? The #2 or #3 murder capital in the United States? If you hang out near the harbor, you won't find the sidewalk vendors...wander inland and you'll see them. Not the prettiest of places...and pretty scary at night

  14. Michael Santos says:

    Hi Raymond :

    Yes, as a matter of fact I spent a wonderful day around the Inner Harbor and I went to a ball game (Orioles) . I liked the stadium , it looks like historic , pretty cool. I liked the city

    I am from South Florida , (Miami ) , according to the statistics is the "poorest city of the US" but in the other hand is the magic city , South Beach , Ocean Drive , hundred of outlets and beautiful malls , Ferraris and Lamborghinis racing ... but I do not reccomend you to walk in Overtown or stop your car in the downtown area close to the I-95 . You will be lucky if you survive that experience.

    Every city has its very "particular" issues like the LACOSTE shirts . Don't you agree?

  15. Raymond says:


    Yes, every major city has its nice parts and its shadier sides. The school I attended was great, but the city left a lot to be desired. My car was broken into, my roommates' cars got broken into, my friend across the street...her house was burglarized and robbed, my friends who were walking to class were robbed in broad day light, and the list goes on and on.

    When I went to school in Baltimore, there were knock off vendors selling pirated goods at every corner to all of the government workers who came into the city to work but escaped back into the suburbs where they lived in the evening. Perhaps Baltimore City has cleaned up a bit over the years....but still rather ironic that the city's official self proclaimed motto today is "Greatest City in America"....then again, it's previous motto was...get this... "The City That Reads"

  16. Diego says:


    De acuerdo yo tengo tambi����n tengo camisas compradas en lacoste de Ecuador con el croc en plateado de muy buena

  17. Britney Spears says:

    I would highly advise against buying any type of premium designer brand clothings online or through the Internets. I would never buy Ralph Lauren Polo or Lacoste on eBay as I believe they are all fake! If it's too good to be true it almost always is. The prices of expensive clothing that I like are always too low to be the real thing I have discovered. Same thing with other things like Coach handbags etc

  18. TheBeautifulThing says:

    The beautiful thing about all this is the incredible stupidity that we all display buy even caring if these items are real or fake. The reason I say this is that, it is all marketing at the end of the day.

    I brought some Lacoste shirts off of ebay just recently for about $40 US. The seller swore they were authentic but for the fun of it I decided to check them up to see if they were real or fake just out of curiosity. The joke is everything you have listed here matches up with them and I have some other shirts i brought in New York at Macy's and the shirts I got off ebay matched them up perfectly too.

    But I know the ones I got off ebay are more than likely copies because the seller sent them to me from China lol. But they are exact copies so why do I care?

    ALL of these brands make their stuff in third world countries for a fraction of the cost they charge us. Some will claim their stuff is made in Europe etc but that is all a lie. My wife works for a major brand that practices this (part of the reason why I spotted caring about this kind of thing). They make almost all of the item in China, bring it over to north America or where ever. Stick a tag on it plus some fancy packaging so that they can say it was made elsewhere.

    We are all being scammed if not buy the ebay sellers buy the very brands we live and die by. Why not just support the little guys out there struggling to make a living? lol

    I think it is time we all wake up. Nothing is real or fake anymore it is just a matter of a false status we all feel by buying and wearing this crap.

    Before my wife got her job she swore by the brand she works for. Now that she is privy to all the inside info of all the crap they do ie child labor in south America etc she could careless.

    Cool blog though!


  19. micck says:

    just a little note to say bought a lcoste from a well known retailer and hey the buttons have lacoste written on them

  20. rajesh says:

    hi there,can anyone tell me if lacoste do long sleeved shirts without pockets?thank you

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