5T vs 5 Clothing Sizes
Walking through aisle by aisle in the toddler clothing section can be a minefield at times. It’s often a real challenge to find the right clothes to fit your child, especially with all the different size labels. If you’re based in the US, and you’re looking for toddler clothes, you’ve likely come across the ‘T’ letter next to a number. Although this is fairly clear and obvious, as your toddler grows from 2T and 3T, towards size 4T and 5T, you may be a little confused when you see there are also sizes 4 and 5.
So why do manufacturers do this, and what’s the difference between 5T and 5 for toddler sizes in clothing? In general, size 5 clothes are a little bigger and longer than 5T. But let’s delve into this topic in more detail.
What is size 5T?
5T is a specific clothing size for toddlers. It is the largest size in the toddler series of clothing which runs from 2T-5T (before this there are baby sizes such as 12 months, 18 months and 24 months). This system is used in the USA and the number refers to the age of your child. 5T is generally for children who are around 43” tall and 40lbs in weight. If your child’s measurements are a bit above or below these figures, you should use size 5, or 4T respectively.
Is size 5 the same as 5T?
Although they are fairly similar, they operate on a different set of clothing sizes. Size 5T is specifically for toddlers, where as size 5 forms part of a scale for older children going from young children to adolescents (from 4 – 14). These size numbers correspond to the age of the child.
So you can see there is some overlap between the two scales, but the measurements are slightly different between 5T and size 5:
- In general, 5T is for children 42-44” in height and 38-42lbs in weight
- Size 5 is usually for children 43-45” in height and 40-44lbs in weight.
Please note this is roughly correct having looked at various websites, but there are some slight differences depending on what store you go to.
In general, size 5 clothes have slightly longer sleeves on shirts and tops compared to 5T. Also, 5T pants usually have an adjustable elastic waist, to allow space for diaper in case a child isn’t totally potty trained yet.
If this is slightly confusing, unfortunately it’s get a little more complicated. If you read on further you will see that there are subtle differences in these measurements at various retailers (just to make things interesting!). So not all 5T and size 5 measurements are the same.
What about XS clothing?
Ok, so hopefully you’ve figured out the differences between size 5 and 5T, but just to make things more confusing, you might come across the XS size label in some stores. Some have this on their clothing labels and it’s part of a clothing size range that goes from XS – XL. You don’t find this everywhere and it’s normally only for tops and bottoms. So how is this different?
Essentially you can think of size XS as the same as size 5, but always check the labels just in case when you’re buying some kids clothing. This means they cater for children who are out of diapers, so the clothing will be a little slimmer around the waist and a bit slimmer overall.
What size comes after 5T?
Once your kid has moved on from 5T, it’s time to look at size 6. However, in some cases, you may find this is too much of a leap if your child is fairly small or below average in height and weight. Some parents move from 5T, to size 5 and then size 6. If in doubt, pop in to your local store and try a few different clothes to see what’s best for your child.
What’s the difference between 5T and size 6?
- Size 6 has a range of 47 – 51” in height and 42-50lbs in weight.
- 5T is 42 – 44” in height and 38 – 42 lbs in weight.
As you can see, this is quite an increase, particularly in terms of height, which explains the longer sleeve length on size 6 compared to 5T clothing. It’s important to remember that children can have mini growth spurts at any time, particularly in the spring, so a bit of extra sleeve length might not be a bad idea so they have some wiggle room.
Is there a 6T size?
After 5T, it’s straight to size 6 (or possibly size 5 for a short while first). However, there are some retailers who do stock 6T such as Old Navy.
What’s the difference between 4T and size 4?
Just like 5T and size 5, the same differences apply to 4T and size 4. 4T is for toddlers, while size 4 is on different clothing scale altogether. Although both sizes are targeted for 4 year olds, size 4 will generally be for bigger kids who may find the 4T size too small. One common mistake some new parents make is thinking size 4 comes after 5T, as it’s the start of a new measurement scale.
When can your child start wearing 5T size clothes?
In general, your child should be ready when they are 5 years old if they are regular size. However, as children come in all shapes and sizes, sometimes it’s not so straightforward! If your child is fairly small in stature at this age, you might want to consider a 4T size or even a size 4 (if they are only just too small for 5T clothing). Likewise, some 4 year olds will be fine in 5T clothing.
How does 5T compare to other countries?
Since 2T-5T sizes are US measurements, here is some info if you want to know how this (approximately) matches up with other countries:
- In the UK, 5T is equivalent to size 4-5.
- In Europe, it’s similar to 104-110cm.
- In Australia, 5T is the same as size 5.
What is size 5T, 5 and XS in different retail outlets?
As I mentioned earlier, although there is a standard size for 5T throughout the US, there are sometimes a few little differences between various retailers. Fortunately, usually it’s only around half an inch or half a pound either side. Here are some measurements for size 5T, 5 and XS in a couple of different stores so you can compare them side by side.
Chart – 5T clothing size compared (Height)
Chart – 5T clothing size compared (Weight)
At Carters, their 5T clothes are very close to the standard size, but their size 5 clothing is a little smaller than average. Here’s a look at their tops and bottoms:
- 5T size = 41.5 – 44” in length and 37.5 – 42lbs in weight.
- Size 5 = 42.5 – 45″ in length and 38.5 – 43lbs in weight
- Size XS = exactly the same as size 5
- 5T size = 41.5 – 44” in length and 22.5″ for the waist.
- Size 5 = 42.5 – 45″ in length and 22.5″ for the waist
- Size XS = exactly the same as size 5.
Nordstrom seems to cater for a slightly bigger size, so if your kid is quite big for their age, this could be a good option for you.
- 5T size = 42 – 44.5” in height and 39 – 44lbs in weight.
- Size 5 = same as 5T
- No XS size for kids.
Like Nordstrom, Old Navy also seem a good option if your child is bigger than average.
- 5T size = 42 – 45” in length and 40 – 46lbs in weight.
- Size 5 = same as 5T (they don’t list a weight range for kids sizes)
- Size XS = same as size 5
Old Navy are one of the few retailers who stock 6T clothing, which might save you a bit of money as they can be cheaper than size 5, 6 or XS clothing items.
If your child is fairly standard in size or a little smaller than average, Kohl’s might be for you. At this retailer their XS size is the equivalent to size 6.
- 5T size = 41.5 – 42.5” in length and 36 – 40lbs in weight.
- Size 5 = 42 – 44″ in length and 37 – 42lbs in weight
- Size XS = exactly the same as size 6
Cat & Jack
You can find this range of clothing at Target. In general, they seem to look like a good option if you child is taller than average but fairly slim.
- 5T size = 43.5 – 44.5” in length and 37.5 – 42lbs in weight.
- Size 5 = 43 – 45″ in length and 40 – 44lbs in weight
- Size XS = in the same category as size 4 and 5.
There might only be an inch or two difference between size 5 and 5T, but if there’s one thing to take away from this article, is that it’s always best to try on the clothes in store. Ordering online can be a timesaver, but it’s staggering the number of times an item of clothing is too big or too small. I wish my wife would understand this!
Sometimes it’s best to pay a little more and get something that fits perfectly, or is slightly bigger so there is some growing room.