Izod items have been turning up in a lot of thrift stores lately. Today I came across one of their sweaters – a bright orange crew neck 100% lambswool model complete with the famous crocodile emblem. For a moment, I was tempted to buy it. The price seemed reasonable at $9.99. But something just didn’t seem right about wearing the crocodile emblem on a sweater. Aside from Lacoste shirts and older Ralph Lauren polo shirts (which I’ve found in great condition as cheap as $1.50), I have a problem in general with wearing most external designer brand logos/emblems. I suppose Vineyard Vines might also qualify as an exception because their emblem is discrete, which is key for me. Lauren has really gone over the top with the newer polo emblem, supersizing it to such a ridiculous degree that I wouldn’t be seen wearing it. Lisa Birnbach makes a point about this in True Prep. I think the clothes should speak for themselves, and for that reason I passed on this sweater. I found a bit of history on the Izod vs. Lacoste brands (see below). While I’m not big on Izod, I’ve always liked Lacoste.
The Dilemma: You want to look preppy. But how?
People You Can Impress: everyone at the country club, polo players, Republicans
The Quick Trick: Get a Lacoste shirt and you’ll have the best of both worlds.
As it turns out, Lacoste is a subbrand of IZOD. As Aristotle would put it: All Lacostes are IZODs, but not all IZODs are Lacostes. These days, both brands are owned by the garment giant Phillips-Van Heusen Corporation, so the difference between Lacoste IZODs and non-Lacoste IZODs is primarily marketing. But the difference between the men behind IZOD and Lacoste is vast indeed.
Jack Izod owned a tailoring shop in London, and billed himself as the “Shirtmaker to the King.” Indeed, he made shirts for King George VI (1895–1951) in the 1930s. One day in the late ’30s, a women’s apparel magnate named Vin (no relationship to Diesel) Draddy visited IZOD’s tailoring shop. Looking to start a line of men’s clothing, Draddy recognized that his own last name would make a poor name for a clothing line, but he quite liked the ring of IZOD. So he bought the rights to IZOD’s name and began making clothes under the IZOD moniker. Oddly enough, the brand’s namesake, Jack Izod, never designed a single item for the company.
René Lacoste, on the other hand, really did design the famous shirts named for him, which is all the more remarkable because he was not a tailor. He was a professional tennis player. Between 1925 and 1928, Lacoste won seven Grand Slam events, and might have won more had he not become ridiculously rich by inventing the world’s first good tennis shirt. In the 1920s, tennis players wore long-sleeved, heavily starched dress shirts (often with ties!). Lacoste grew weary of the outfits, and by 1929, he’d designed a short-sleeved shirt with a longer shirttail in the back and a flat collar. Further proving he was ahead of his time, Lacoste generally played the game with his collar turned up, though it was more to block out the sun than anything else. But back to the shirts! Light and comfortable, Lacoste’s garments were an immediate hit when he began mass-producing them in 1933. By 1951, he’d sold the brand to IZOD.
Lacoste’s other significant contribution to fashion has to do with the iconic crocodile (it’s not an alligator—see below) on his shirts. Known as “Le Crocodile” for his on-court tenacity, Lacoste added the crocodile to his shirts in the mid-1930s—the first time a logo is known to have appeared on the outside of a shirt. Not a bad fashion record for a guy who mostly just wanted to win tennis tournaments.
Alligator vs. Crocodile
So how can you tell the Lacoste symbol is a crocodile not an alligator? You can’t, really, unless you know the story of Le Crocodile. But a real alligator and crocodile have many differences. For starters, crocodiles are much more likely to kill you. But also:
Crocodiles have a narrower, almost pointy snout. A crocodile’s lower teeth are always visible; an alligator’s disappear when its mouth is closed. Alligators are usually gray; crocodiles, a light brown.
Read the full text here: http://www.mentalfloss.com/difference/izod-vs-lacoste/#ixzz1YdMd8J1q