Practical Dad

How Do I Find the Right Size Clothing for my Kid?

Can you help me figure out what size clothing to get for my son?

The guy at the register was embarrassed to ask and the clerk said that she'd help him after she finished with other customers.  I was standing nearby and walked over and together, we figured out what he could do.  Granted, it's most helpful to have the child there but even then, small children don't have the patience to try things on repeatedly.  So what do you do?

Where Do I Start?

The obvious and easiest thing to do is to first find out what size Junior's wearing at the moment.  That first comment isn't meant to be offensive; I've been in the position of finding out that he needs something and not knowing what the current size is.  It happens and especially so if he's bigger or smaller than the norm for his age.  And those are the keys if you don't have the size in front of you.  How old is he and how big is he in relation to others his age? 

The thing to know is that for children's clothing, the sizes reflect the normal size for a child of that age.  For example, a five year-old would wear a size 5 shirt and pants and a four year-old would wear a 4 or 4T(oddler).  This practice is standard for sizes up to 8.  After that, they range in two size/year increments such as 10 - 12 and 14 - 16 and beyond the 14 -16 size, then you're into adult size clothing.  If you have a daughter, all bets are off since she's not going to want you anywhere near getting her clothing when she's old enough to care.

Once you've settled on the general size, think whether Junior's bigger or smaller than the typical kid that age.  If you've paid attention, The CDC Growth Chart for your child will show you whether he's in the average size range or on either end of the curve.  

The final early question is why you need the clothing.  If it's replacing something relatively new because of ruin, then go to that size.  If it's been awhile since the old clothing was bought, then Junior has to try it on.

Is it necessary to try it on?

Unfortunately, yes.  I know some people who just grab a bunch, buy it and take it home for the child to try on; they then return the non-fitting items.  The problem is that you then have to return with the non-fitting items and you have to have the receipt to get full credit.  Lose your receipt and ...

But there are some things to remember that will help make it easier.

  • Choose clothing items or consecutive sizes and have Junior try the smallest size first.
  • If the smallest is too small, then try the next size.
  • Keep the too-small clothing however, for comparison with that made by other manufacturers, since some make a larger size 8 than others.
  • When you have clothing that fits, then lay it out flat and use that as a standard for measuring other clothes that you've picked.  It beats having first grader Junior having a loud spasm in the dressing area.
  • Junior may still have to try something on, but the number of clothing articles is minimized and you can avoid bloodshed in the aisles.

When  you get home, Junior can try on the clothing at a slower and less stressful pace or just as it's pulled out of the closet and drawer for that particular day. 

Cautionary Notes

If Junior tries on the clothing as it's pulled from the closet, then you have to be sure to:

  • keep the receipt where you can find it;
  • keep the sales tags on until you're certain that it fits.

Buying clothing is stressful enough when you know what you're doing.  Keep your head about you and it can be much easier than the horror stories that you hear about.

 

 

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