An Open Letter to Toddler Clothing Manufacturers

Dear Sirs:

(I say sirs because honestly, it's clear that you are neither women nor mothers - were you either of these things, the following letter would not be necessary.)

Is it so much to ask that you hold some sort of Baby/Toddler clothing manufacturer summit and decide on a single sizing standard? It is nothing short of insanely frustrating to arrive home with six outfits that, given the casual nature of your life and the size/age of your toddler, should last him throughout the summer, only to wash them and dress him in the first to realize that not only will they not last the summer, it's unlikely they'll make it through May.

The kiddo is coming up on 16 months old. He is in the 9th percentile for both height and weight - a size our doctor kindly terms "petite" (this is opposed to the "shrimpy" that I'm sure will come at some point from his schoolmates should he not have some sort of growth spurt before school age hits.) My point is that, given these circumstances, clothing labeled "18 months" should by all accounts be large on him today and last him well through the summer. Instead, this clothing is clearly designed to fit a 12 month old since if he did not wear diapers, he would have the mother of all wedgies.

Now, I understand that children grow at different rates (a concept that clearly eludes you) and so the age-based sizing is, perhaps, not the best choice. Instead, why not simply label things according to a height and weight range that the garment is intended to fit? And, if you are a single manufacturer who labels clothes under many other names, perhaps aim for some sort of consistency in your sizing. I find it laughable that I have jumpers from Carters and also from Just One Year and Child Of Mine (both of which are made by Carters) that are all the same size when you hold the garments next to each other but that each bear a different age-based label that ranges from 9 to 18 months.

Nearly every mother (or father, should he be the one taking the child to the doctor) knows the average height and weight of their child. A label that simply used those ranges would eliminate all the confusion and make me considerably less likely to try to avoid purchasing clothes of this brand again.

Of course, you would lose some sales since people wouldn't buy a seasonal wardrobe that they expect to fit only to find that you'd snookered them and they actually bought clothes that are one size too small. But all things considered the, "Ha ha, you moron" marketing plan doesn't seem like the best way to go.

A mother who just thinks it's wrong that her 16 month old little boy's 18 month shorts are Daisy Dukes.


Lynellen said...


And yet, sad.

Oh, while you're reforming the world of fashion, please do the same thing with women's sizes.

Rob said...

Sheesh, I thought it was just us. We've noticed vast variations in the sizes in the clothes we've bought for our just-turned 3 yr-old. We still have a couple of 18 Month shirts that fit fine, but lots of 2T shirts that were too small 6 months ago. And there are at least two 4T shirts that fit just right long before Liam's 3rd birthday.

Of course, he's a bit disproportionate anyway - if they weren't too short, he could still wear 18 month pants due to his slim waist (my, such a problem I wish I had) but he needs mostly 3T shirts to fit his torso length and shoulder span.

Suzanne Rielle said...

No kidding! For our website (LoobaLee.com,a custom exchange just for designer children's cloting), we've been researching children's clothing sizes for over a year, and (believe it or not), we still come across some new ones. They are FAR from standard. And, it's amazing how extensive our menus have become.

Here's some of my tips/suggestions to deal with the variation:

• About every 3 months, I update my 'cheat sheet' of kids clothing sizes. I actually measure them, so I can reference it when shopping in stores and on-line.

• For resale, I recommend listing the garment's size exactly as specified on the tag, and providing exact measurements in the description.

• When buying resale always look up a size, as shrinkage is very common.

❀ Suzanne Rielle, co-founder, LoobaLee.com

michellewillingham said...

Amen! Carters always runs small. Some of my Baby Gap stuff was ridiculous--a 12-month outfit was worn by my 6-month old and it fit beautifully. Sigh.

My kiddo has outgrown all his 18-month stuff, and we're moving straight into 2T. Sorry that you've run into that problem!

Gwynne said...

I just did the exact same thing...bought 6 little 18-month rompers for our robust "little" 10 month old and figured they'd get him through summer. He's just now pushing the limits on his 9-month footied onsies, but these new ones are already a bit snug around the derrier (unless he goes commando). ;-)

I am still laughing at the Daisy Dukes comment. Makes me think of the gay cop on Reno 911. Eeeuwww! 8-}

Jen said...

I remember when my sister first gave me hand-me-downs for Jesse, she warned to ignore the size labels for most of the items. I have always followed that advice when getting clothes for him. I'll use the size as a guide, but I will always look at the items closely to see if they will actually fit him.

Jesse was wearing 24 mo and 2T stuff when he was 18 months old, mostly because of length issues. He's already wearing a lot of 3T stuff.

Knowing how things will shrink when washed makes a huge difference, too. We just sorted through stuff to keep or send to Kevin's niece and Kevin was amazed at the 3T stuff that is already too small for Jesse.

Speaking of which, the cow costume should fit Joshua well for this Halloween. Do you want it?

beth said...

What's even funnier is that the one I put him in the next day (same size) fits like I expected and will, most likely, last a good bit of the summer. Ah sizing joys.

Jen - YES, we'd love the cow costume! :)

Jen said...

Ok, cow costume is yours. Still need to figure out when to do dinner. I'll talk to Beau about dates later today and will email you.