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:

  • 5T is for children 42-44” in height and 38-42lbs in weight
  • Size 5 is for children 45-47” in height and 42-46lbs in weight.

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, where as size 5 pants won’t. (You may need to buy a belt if you opt for a size 5 pair of pants).

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 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?

No, there is no 6T size. After 5T, it’s straight to size 6 (or possibly size 5 for a short while first)

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 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.

Carters

At Carters, their clothes are very close to the standard size. Tops for 5T are 41.5-44” in height and 37.5 – 42lbs in weight.

Walmart

The 5T size at Walmart is for children who are 42 – 44.5” in height (so slightly more than Carters) and 38 – 42lbs in weight.

Nordstrom

Nordstrom seems to cater for a slightly bigger size, as for 5T their clothes are 42 – 44.5” in height (same as Walmart) but 39 – 44lbs in weight (bigger than both Carters and Walmart)

5t vs 5 clothing sizes

Conclusion

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.

Leave a Comment