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Most of the copying at Counterfeit Chic involves women's clothing and accessories, or at least labels that outfit both men and women.  That's no surprise; for the last few hundred years, Western fashion (or at least wearing it) has been a girl thing.

A new ad campaign from Men's Wearhouse, however, specifically targets bargain shoppers of the putatively less fashionable gender. 

The tagline, "If you can't tell the difference, why pay for it?" is absolutely gender-brilliant.  It works at persuading men to shop -- rationally and intelligently -- while at the same time reinforcing their heterosexual male American "I-can't-tell-all-that-fashion-garbage-apart" machismo. 

A similar appeal to the fairer sex wouldn't be nearly as effective, as fashion-conscious women and girls are more likely to pride themselves  on being able to tell the difference between expensive and inexpensive versions of a similar item.  Even when a woman chooses the bargain style (the "steal" rather than the "splurge," in Marie Claire terms), the value of the copy is based in part on the ability to recognize the original and cleverly imitate the overall look.  In terms of social expectations, a woman who can't tell the difference needs to spend time studying, not shopping. 

Of course, the Men's Wearhouse isn't comparing a $3,000+ bespoke suit with its own bargain version; the differences are more like $495 v. $299.99.   Still, it takes balls to make sartorial cluelessness a virtue (esteemed readers excepted, of course!)

P.S.  I can't believe I just typed that, nor can my spouse -- final exam season takes its toll. 


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