While you don’t need an advanced degree to figure out kids’ clothing, it can be confusing and leave you wondering which size is right for your child. So, if you’ve found yourself scratching your head about what size to get for your child, you’ve come to the right place.
My daughter is 5, and I often feel torn on which section at the store I should shop. Emotionally, I wanted to keep shopping in the toddler section, but the clothes seemed to get shorter and shorter on her, so I had to venture to the land of girls and preteens.
So, you’re not alone if you’re wondering what the difference is between 5T and 5. The two sizes are similar but differ in length and fit, especially since toddler clothing allows extra room if they are still in pull-ups. (My 5-year-old recently stopped using pull-ups at night, so I appreciate the spare room.)
Sizing becomes fairly straightforward once your kids are out of “T” sized clothing, but it doesn’t make the journey to that milestone easier. So, let’s dive a little deeper into the difference between 5T and 5, and then I’ll explain kids’ clothing a bit more, including what you should buy for your five-year-old.
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Is 5T The Same Size as 5?
5T and size 5 are virtually the same, but it’s assumed that a child wearing a 5 is fully potty trained. On the other hand, some 5T clothing may have extra room to allow a pull-up, which is likely the biggest difference you’ll find. Although you may notice 5T clothing is easier to get on since some littles still need assistance.
In addition, you’ll probably find 5T clothing in the baby and toddler section, while size 5 will be in the girls’ or boys’ part of the store. Also, size 5 clothes will start to become longer, accommodating growing children, and likely have more zippers and buttons than 5T clothing. You also want to consider that your child is walking and running at five years old, and you want comfortable clothing.
If your child is on the edge of 5T and 5, I highly recommend going with the latter since they will outgrow the smaller clothes in no time. While you don’t want them swimming in their clothes, you also don’t want to buy new clothing constantly.
When it comes to underwear sizes, you’ll also notice a jump in sizing. For example, the right underwear size for a 5-year-old will likely be a 4T-5T or a 6. I have found a few stores that carry size 5 underwear, or other odd numbers, for that matter.
Speaking of underwear, you will find a big difference between boys’ and girls’ sizing. Here’s a look at the average underwear sizes for boys and girls.
Average Boys’ Underwear Sizes
|4-5||34 – 42 lbs||22 inches|
|6-8||45 – 68 lbs||22.5 – 24.5 inches|
|9-10||68 – 82||24 – 27 inches|
Average Girls’ Underwear Sizes
|4||28 – 38 lbs||21 inches|
|6||39 – 49 lbs||22 inches|
|8||50 – 67 lbs||23 inches|
While boys might have a higher average weight than girls, you can see there is a significant difference when it comes to underwear sizes. The good news is you start to learn how various brands fit, and you’ll typically know precisely what to get for your child.
What Does The “T” in Sizing Mean?
The “T” in sizing means toddler, and the number that precedes it pertains to the child’s age. However, you’ll quickly notice your child won’t necessarily wear what one would expect since kids come in various weight ranges and heights.
Size T clothing can get confusing because 2T and 24 months are virtually the same, except 2T clothing will be a tad bigger to allow space for diapers. You also find this issue with 1T vs. 12 months because life can’t be easy when shopping for baby clothes.
In addition, you usually only see T clothing in the United States, while European brands use numbers in the hundreds. For example, a 5T is about the same as a 120 in European clothes.
However, European clothes are based on height, so you’ll want to measure from the top of the head to the feet to find the correct measurement in centimeters.
Here’s a look at a size chart for toddler clothing:
|2T||30 – 32 lbs||33.5 – 35 inches|
|3T||32 – 35 lbs||35 – 38 inches|
|4T||35 – 39 lbs||38 – 41 inches|
What Size Does a 5-Year-Old Wear?
The right size for your 5-year-old might be different than mine. For example, my daughter is newly five and wears some size 6 clothing because of her height. I also have found girls sizing runs smaller than boys, and there is a significant size difference between the two.
Some stores will carry an XS size, usually 4-5. However, stores have size charts, so don’t be afraid to pull out a measuring tape to determine your child’s exact size. For example, getting your children’s measurements will help you figure out if your child should be in 5T or 5.
In addition, some stores don’t use number sizing and rely on letter sizes, like S, M, L, and XL. However, you will occasionally find a brand that puts the number in parentheses, which is helpful, especially since sizes can vary significantly. For example, I appreciate that Target labels their girls’ clothing with the letter size and number.
My daughter wears a size small in Cat & Jack, which translates to a 6. It’s interesting because my boys have always worn the exact size you would expect, while I always had to size up with my daughter. But, my opinion about girl versus boy clothes could fill up its own article.
Here’s an average size chart for 5T clothing:
|Height||41 – 43.5 inches (104-111 centimeters)|
|Chest||23 – 25 inches (58-64 centimeters)|
|Weight||39 – 43 lbs (17-20 kilograms)|
|Waist||21 – 22.5 inches (53 – 57 centimeters)|
With girls, you can get away with wearing some dresses for longer if you pair them with pants underneath. My daughter has several dresses she loves and can’t bear to get rid of, but my rule is they must be worn with pants, or she’s not leaving the house.
Since some stores use letters and some numbers, here’s an average of how they all match up.
|Number Size||Letter Size||European Size|
|4/5||Extra Small||107 – 119 cm|
|6/6X||Small||119 – 129 cm|
|7/8||Medium||129 – 137 cm|
|10||Large||137 – 145 cm|
|12||Extra Large||145 -151 cm|
|14||Extra Extra Large||151 – 157 dm|
Generally, a size 6x is a tad longer and wider than a regular size 6. In addition, remember this chart should serve as an average since brands vary. For example, you might reach for the 6x if your daughter is too big for size 6 but doesn’t fit in a 7 yet.
I have been frustrated when my kids fall in between sizes, and nothing seems to work. My seven-year-old son is in that phase where the size 6 pants make him look ready for a flood, but the size 8 pants are too long. I wish I could go into the designer’s mind when they thought it was a good idea to skip over specific sizes.
At What Age/Size Does Kids Clothing Stop Using “T”?
Children will stop wearing size “T” clothing between 4-5 years old. At this point, children are usually potty trained and are wearing underwear. Most clothing stores stop using the “T” with 5T clothing, although you can occasionally find a 6T.
As kids start learning to dress themselves, they tend to outgrow the toddler clothing, which is typically easier to put on. Smaller children will inevitably stay in the smaller clothing, so don’t put a time limit on size T clothing.
You also want to pay attention to the size charts of specific brands because they can differ from one brand to the next. For example, my kids always wore bigger sizes from Carters, whereas Cat & Jack from Target was usually on point.
For this reason, it’s best to use your child’s measurements when ordering from various brands, so you can ignore the sizes and choose where your child fits. In addition, an average size of 5T is for children roughly 39 to 43 lbs; however, this will vary greatly. You can also take their waist measurement and compare it to the sizing chart of a particular brand.
Finally, I always knew my children were ready to size up when they raised their hands and their belly buttons appeared under their t-shirts. You’ll also notice it’s time to size up when your child’s wrists and ankles are visible while wearing long sleeves and pants. Also, if your child mimics your favorite plumber, it’s time to get larger clothes for your big kid.
Kelly is a mom of three who finds joy in writing about her parenting experiences and filling in others about the must-have products and the ones you can leave on the store shelf. With a bit of humor, Kelly tries to laugh off the messy side of parenting and, instead, focus on the beautiful moments it brings. Originally from South Florida, she now calls Northern Virginia home and looks forward to connecting with readers through The Place for Parents.