If Clothes Make The Man

Stoplights are standardized. To my knowledge, anywhere you go in this world – green means go and red means stop. You don't even have to be able to READ and you know that. So uncomplicated and efficient. But children's clothing? That's a free-for-all.

I realize that not all babies are shaped the same and, much like women's clothing, every brand thinks they do it The Right Way, but could we all just make our clothes the same freaking size? Or just get close? And can we agree on definitions for words like "newborn" and "infant" and "baby"?

I've had a bit of a love-hate relationship with children's clothing from day one, really. It took me a good six months to figure out that clothes labeled "6" or "9" are actually intended to fit up until "6" or "9" months. That was a bummer. And several things went into the Outgrown Bucket without ever being worn. But by this time last year I really had a handle on it. I organized Colt's closet into sizes and seasons and made it a point to periodically go in and be sure he was wearing all the stuff that fit. After finally accepting that there's no discernible difference between "Newborn" and "0-3", I navigated through 3-6, 6-12, even a few 6-9 and 9-12, though if I had my way those last two would go the way of the 2 dollar bill.

But I've come to another crossroads. I spent some time this weekend going through everything as (some of) his 12-18 month shirts are getting snug. Truthfully, I get pretty excited when it's time to shift up to the next size because I get to dig back into the closet and find things I completely forgot I bought on sale this time last year. There's 12-18, some of which still fit. Especially pants. But then there are some sweaters that I bought him for this fall – clearly labeled 12-18 months – that I PROMISE you he'll still be able to wear a year from now.

And the question that currently haunts me: What in the WORLD is the difference between "18-24 months" and "2T"? Is 2T another trick – like the 6 and 9 clothes? Or does it mean that he can wear those clothes when he is actually two?

Honestly, why does it have to be in secret code? We count in months until 24, then it switches to Ts. Ok. But about this age is when we start walking the fine line between "baby" and "kid". Some places even consider him a "newborn" until 24 months! Wha?

My strategy so far has been to call in reinforcements and ask my friend Nancy, who rarely lets me down when it comes to these things. Maybe next week I'll try to figure out why Gymboree sells swimwear in January.

One Response to If Clothes Make The Man

  1. Nancy Bunch January 18, 2010 at 4:01 pm #

    I’ll do my best. 18-24 months SHOULD be slightly smaller than 2T. By the time kids get to the Ts, they can usually wear the clothes for longer stretches of time, seasonal changes notwithstanding. For example, Ethan has been in 4 all fall, and I expect him to remian there through the spring.

    Also in theory, clothes sized with a T are supposed to be shaped to fit toddlers and pre-schoolers. This means roominess for the diaper, short waists, chubby legs, etc. When you get to the bigger sizes this is noticeable. Since Ethan is tall and thin, I buy him 4 and not 4T whenever possible. Abby, however, was in T sizes until I couldn’t find them anymore.

    You’re right, though–in general it’s ridiculous.

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