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Up to 90% of the Lacoste items sold on EBay and other auction sites are counterfeit, so it’s important to know how to tell whether the Lacoste shirt you are about to buy is real or counterfeit. I previously wrote a short post on how to detect fake polo shirts, but this is the definitive guide. If you are trying to detect whether you have a fake Lacoste bag, see my post on detecting fake bags. For information on reporting fake Lacoste items, go to Lacoste’s brand protection page.
For detecting counterfeit clothing, here are the main things to check:
1) Check the Logo – Most fakes have cheaply made crocodile logos with badly defined body parts. The crocodile should be a deep, dark green with obvious individual teeth and claws. The top jaw is smaller than bottom and is angled slightly upwards. The tail will be rounded and be pointing in the same direction as the jaw rather than at the crocodile. The logo should be on a white background, and stitched on from inside the shirt. You should see no stitches on the front of the shirt.
You should also see neat stitching inside the shirt outlining the crocodile. Messy stitching inside is a clear sign of a fake. On the original Lacoste polo shirts, the logo is held on with 1,200 stitches. Unfortunately, Lacoste has been confusing the issue recently by using multiple versions of the logo in different materials, so if your item’s logo doesn’t look like the classic cloth one pictured above, you should check it against some of the newer versions shown on my Lacoste Crocodile Logo page.
2) Check the Logo Alignment – The Lacoste Logo lines up with the second button of their polo shirts. Not the bottom of the placket. It is always on the left of the shirt.
Unfortunately, Lacoste has again been messing a little with this by moving the crocodile logo to the back of the neck on their Lacoste Heritage polo shirts. On those shirts, there is a Lacoste text logo in the traditional placement on the front of the shirt.
2) Check the sizing – Lacoste uses numbers for sizing, not small, medium and large. There should also be a detailed crocodile on the tag.
4) Check the Buttons – Real Lacoste buttons are usually mother-of-pearl. The shape is flat and slightly saddle-like in the middle. There are 2 holes for needles (on the upper and lower parts). There is usually no writing on the button. A genuine button will have a clearly defined rim around it. Also, because they are made of mother-of-pearl, the buttons on the shirt will not be identical. If you look closely, each button will have unique, albeit subtle, differences in shading.
5) Check for Elevations – Men’s T-shirts have small side elevations.
6) Check the Fabric – Some fakes use a hexagonal or honeycomb weave (you will clearly see the hexagonal pattern if you look) instead of Lacoste’s “petit pique” weave which is shown below.
Even fakes that use a weave close to Lacoste’s use much thinner fabric. So put your hand inside the shirt, and if you can see it through the cloth, it’s almost certainly a fake.
7) Check the Label – On a new Lacoste shirt with an ironed on label, the Lacoste label will look like the example shown below. Most fake Lacoste makers don’t do a thorough job on the label. In particular, the lettering and logo are usually have blurred edges.
On the original Lacoste L12-12 polo shirts, the label will look like the ones shown below. Also, note the quality of the stitching around the collar also.
8) Check the Tag – An authentic Lacoste shirt will come with tags like the ones below. Again, this an area in which most forgers don’t put in a lot of effort. If your item doesn’t come with tags like the ones below, then it’s not authentic.
A legitimate Lacoste product comes in quality packaging that reflects the Lacoste brand. Here’s an example of the packaging that a recent shirt I bought from Lacoste came in:
If your item passes all these tests, you can be pretty sure it’s not fake. For more tips on detecting counterfeits, here are some articles from the web on detecting fake Lacoste: