The ultimate GANT authentication and buying guide

GANT is one of the most notable brands around.

Up there with giga-sized names in worldwide American-born fashion like Ralph Lauren, Brooks Brothers and Tommy Hilfiger, Gant is known for high quality ready to wear clothing.
Particularly known for shirting and preppy basic staples, Gant also unfortunately falls victim to widespread counterfeiting.

This guide is here to help you learn a bit about the characteristics of the genuine article, so you can identify a genuine piece of Gant clothing.
It’s also here to help you figure out which fit of shirt is the best for you.

Over the years, Gant has changed the appearance of their labels several times, as well as launched sub-brands like Rugger, Salty Dog and collaborations with designers like Michael Bastian (now creative director at Brooks Brothers).
This can make authenticating a tricky thing, so I’ll try to include as many details on these as I can.


What genuine Gant shirts and sweaters look like

Many of the shirts in my own wardrobe are Gant, from a period of the last three decades.
I’ve examined these to come up with a series of characteristics distinguishable across all of them.

Unlike with authenticating Polo Ralph Lauren, Gant items don’t tend to have any consistent outside details that you can identify them by, despite there being a good chance of the logo being on the breast.
Instead, the details on the inside are the way to go.

Firstly, let’s see some inside collar labels:

Note that the general font and layout have stayed similar over time.

The next point to consider is the laundry tags.
These usually take one of two formats, depending on age.
You can see this for yourself in the gallery below.

Check Gant authenticity comprehensive buying guide
Check Gant authenticity comprehensive buying guide

The larger woven ones on matte blue and grey tags are vintage Gant, while the shiny polyester ones are characteristic of newer garments.
The older ones tend to cram all of the information onto both sides of one tag, while the newer ones often have three to four tags sewn into the seam which are perusable like the pages of a book.
The oldest ones still have the USA brand, before it was sold to Swedish owners.

Country of manufacture isn’t a singularly suitable characteristic to determine authenticity.
I’ve seen Gant clothing made in Portugal, Hong Kong, China, Taiwan and USA to name a few.

A common giveaway among counterfeits is the use of a different, usually generic, laundry tag.
These generic laundry tags are likely to say little more than the composition and some laundry symbols.


Example of a fake

While I’ve seen increasing reports of counterfeits being discovered lately, few images have been available thus far. One I remember happening across myself was a rugby shirt, many years ago, which was quite convincing with the tags being reproduced very well.
The only giveaways were that the fabric felt poorer quality than one would expect with this brand, and that it was tagged a size S while the measurements mirrored an XL.

One fake I managed to photograph recently was this polo.
While I have seen a Gant logo similar to the one used here on much older garments from the brand, the fabric of the polo was a huge giveaway as was the poor quality laundry tag.

How to spot fake and counterfeit Gant clothing shirts polos
How to spot fake and counterfeit Gant clothing
How to spot fake and counterfeit Gant clothing

Note also the poor quality overlocking stitchwork up the side seam, as well as the L tag near the neck space.
The laundry tag is the biggest giveaway, however other little signs add up too.

Always be wary when buying second hand and check for all of these red flags.

Some other examples of fake Gant garments can be seen on YouTube (example 1, example 2, example 3).


Is the Diamond G legit?

Yes. The diamond with the G inside is the modern Gant logo.
It’s more likely to be found on their contemporary, sartorial and leisure offerings from previous years.

When Gant dropped the Rugger brand circa 2018, they also adapted the Diamond G from a sub-label, using it as the standard label for most items and replacing the shield crest.
I prefer the shield.


Size and fit

I’ve learned the hard way that the sizing on Gant shirting has changed several times over the years, as is unfortunately the case with most big brands.
As such, it’s hard to use the fit as a 100% reliable indicator, however you can use it to gauge the age of the garment.

To illustrate, I usually take a size L in Gant shirting.
Shirts from the mid-2000s to the early 2010s tend to fit me quite well, and the chest usually measures around the 122cm mark.
Some are considerably larger, notably the more casual ones made from materials like thick twill or corduroy.
Modern ones, currently sold in stores, usually measure around 116-118cm and are a smidgin tight in the chest.
The collar point size is much larger on older shirts, compared to current issue ones.

The brand has a number of different fits, some of which are listed below:

  • E-Z Fit
  • Slim Fit
  • Regular Fit
  • Urban Fit
  • Dress Fit
  • Sports Fit

From personal experience, I’ve learned the following about these fits:

Regular fit, for the most part, is true to size. Slightly tapered down the body but not bodyform.
E-Z fit is fairly straight cut, but the collar is bigger by approximately 1cm. The length is also shorter, allowing for wear untucked.
Sports fit is usually almost identical to the regular fit.
Urban fit is often ~2cm slimmer through the torso.
Slim fit is usually approximately 6cm smaller through the chest. Good for if you have a big neck and smaller body.
Dress fit seems to be the same as regular fit, but longer tailed for wearing tucked in.

Note also that more casual shirts from the 1990s and earlier, such as cord shirts or Washer lines, tend to be larger in every facet.
My Cord Shirt and Washer Twills are the same neck size as my normal poplins and oxfords, but the shoulders are around 3-4cm wider and the body is wider also.
I take a size L in Gant, and these have required much alteration to achieve the same silhouette.

With regard to current iterations of Gant shirts, the regular fit now fits more like the slim fit.
Where older Gant shirts in a size L regular fit often measured around 122cm in the chest, they now measure closer to 117.


Product names, styles and common fabric compositions

A hallmark of Gant shirting is the names associated with each style of shirt.
Some of these names include:

  • Color Oxford
  • Oxford Banker
  • Poplin Banker
  • Palm Beach Poplin
  • Washer Oxford
  • Washer Twill
  • Newport Poplin
  • Washer Chambray
  • Ivy 50’s Poplin
  • Georgica Poplin
  • Pinpoint Oxford
  • Long Beach Poplin
  • Foxhunt Plaid
  • The Cord Shirt
  • 80’s Two Ply Poplin
  • Pinpoint Twill
  • Washer Poplin
  • Portofino Poplin
  • Ivy League Twill
  • Hampton Dobbie
  • Broadcloth Banker

The above is not an exhaustive list, but an indicator of how many styles there are and the naming style used.
Wherever a number is used, it isn’t referring to a decade, rather it’s referring to the yarn count just like super numbers in suit fabrics.

The usual construction style of Gant shirts is with a button down collar (sometimes including a third button to fasten the back of the collar) and a single patch breast pocket, usually with a centre pleat and locker loop on the back.
This locker loop will usually have the Gant name embroidered on it.
This stays the same 95% of the time, regardless of whether the shirt is long sleeved or short sleeved.

It’s easy to assume that being a designer brand reputed for quality, that Gant would stick to natural materials.
However, this is not the case, with some of the product lines utilising synthetics.
From what I’ve seen, almost all Gant shirting is made from naturals; cotton, linen or blends of both.
The only exception is the Foxhunt line, which all appear to be made from a cotton/polyester blend.

As such, I’d recommend avoiding the Foxhunt line. The poly count is quite high and as such, these shirts will not breathe well.
Foxhunt shirts were made under both regular Gant and the Salty Dog monikers, from what I’ve seen so far.

Next, let’s look at some of the best known collaboration and diffusion lines from Gant.
These are Salty Dog, Rugger and the long running Michael Bastian collaboration.
I don’t currently possess enough information on these to provide a full authoritative authentication guide on the sub-brands, but can showcase some general styles and designs.
As I acquire and learn more, I’ll update the below.


Salty Dog

The Salty Dog range, apparently discontinued before the turn of the millennium, features the boldest designs I’ve seen in the entire Gant catalogue thus far.
All I’ve been able to dredge up about this sub-brand is that it was manufactured until the mid 1990s, as a sportswear line.
There are some crazy and cool fabrics used, and you’re very unlikely to find a bland piece of clothing bearing the Salty Dog label.

The label usually looks like this in some form:

Gant Salty Dog from the ultimate Gant authentication guide online

I have a couple of Salty Dog items on the way to me and will update this post when they arrive.

If you have more information about the Salty Dog line, please reach out via my contact form or Instagram. I’d love to know more about the history of this line.


Rugger

Gant Rugger label example from the ultimate Gant authentication guide online

The Rugger line was quite a collegiate inspired look, with a strange mish-mash of golden age influence and experimental neo-prep designs.
It was introduced in 2010 and dropped in 2018.
Like Ralph Lauren Rugby, it’s somewhat ‘youthful’, often characterised by loud logo and tighter fits.
I’ve seen few hits and many misses contained within this line.

Gant Rugger label example from the ultimate Gant authentication guide online

Many other garments bearing Rugger labels are characterised as ‘Gant Rugger The Hugger’, which denotes the slimmest fits from the sub-brand.


Other designer collaborations

While the collaboration with Michael Bastian was perhaps the most well known, and certainly the longest running, it’s not the only one that Gant has undertaken.
The brand has recently launched a cool little collection in the UK with designer Luke Edward Hall, which has a distinctively 1970s feel.

There’s also a known footwear collab with the brand Diemme.

These have unique make and tags, so it’s unlikely you’ll find a counterfeiter who will go to the effort of reproducing those.
Counterfeit manufacturers usually go for the lowest hanging fruit.


Final thoughts

I’ve enjoyed buying many Gant items for the fit (much of their archive is well suited to a strong shouldered, somewhat endomorphic body type), the designs and the price-quality ratio.
Thankfully for us buyers, it doesn’t seem to be a heavily counterfeited brand, however it always pays to make sure.
Hence the creation and completion of this guide.

It took a number of hours to put this together, so I hope it helps some of you rest a little easier about your purchases.

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With content features ranging from occasional appearances on popular menswear hub social accounts (The Rake, Styleforum, Put This On) to French perfume newsletters and university course readings, Sam is an enthusiast, designer and writer in the fields of menswear and fragrance.

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