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How to Choose the Correct Clothing Size for Children

By Catalogs Editorial Staff

Buying for a child? Here are some hints to finding the right clothing size

If you’re shopping for children’s clothes for a gift, you need to know how to find the right clothing size for children. This can be especially challenging if you’re buying for kids you seldom see or who live far away. 

Whether you’re shopping for something fun like adorable baby rock clothes or a practical gift like a new winter coat, getting the right size is important. Children’s clothes run in sizes divided by age, like “newborn and infant,” toddlers and children’s. Girls’ clothing runs from 2T (toddler) to 6X.

There are some things you can do to make sure the clothes you send will be a welcome addition to a child’s wardrobe.

Ask mom or dad

clothing size for children
Whenever you’re shopping for kids’ clothes, it’s always a good idea to ask the parents about sizes. But expect to get a confusing answer. “Well, she wears a 6 in pants, if they have an elastic waist, but otherwise a 5, but it has to be a long 5. And then in tops, usually a 6 or 6X, sometimes a 7, but then again that new top is an 8 and it seems to fit…”

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So why ask? Now, you have an idea about the sizes to consider. You know she’s between a 6 and 8, overall. Not a 4 or a 10. You’ve narrowed it down. The next step would be to ask for measurements. Waist, arm length, leg length, and the width of shoulders are good measurements to ask for. Forget chest and hips; they’re not usually needed for kids’ clothes.

Ask the salespeople

clothing size for children
When you go shopping, measurements for children’s clothing sizes need to be considered. By doing so, you can ask the salespeople whether their clothing runs large, small, or true to size. That will give an idea of where to start. Use the measurements, if you have them, to see which sizes will fit best. Allow for shrinkage in all-cotton garments. Remember that kids grow quickly, so allow for a little extra space.

Consider the season

winter clothes for kids
If you’re buying out of season, the right children’s clothing size to chose will be a size or two larger than what they’re wearing now. So that adorable and just the right-sized ski coat you’ve found in July probably won’t fit by the time snow is on the ground. Buy a size or two up for a perfect fit when frosty weather finally arrives.

When in doubt, buy something that can be exchanged

If you’re really uncertain about clothing size for children, buy from a store that has locations in the recipient’s town. National chain stores will usually issue a gift receipt sans the prices, so too large or too small clothing can easily be exchanged for the right size. You can also order gifts from the Internet, where returns and exchanges can be made from anywhere. Just be sure to check the company’s return policy before making a purchase, especially if it’s an expensive item.

Some suggestions for goof-proof gifts

buying clothes for children
If you want the best chance of a return-free clothing gift, choose a t-shirt or sweatshirt imprinted with a popular character, symbol, hoodie, or a sleep shirt. Buying these items a bit larger than you might expect will give it the comfortable and baggy look that works.

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Steer clear of pants and dresses unless you know the size and brand exactly; choosing something even a little too big or too small can make these garments unusable.

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