Shopping for your little (or not so little) kid doesn't have to be a giant challenge. Clothing made for boys accounts for a typical masculine body type and includes measurements for specific areas like chest and waist, so all you need is a measuring tape and a boys' clothing size chart to help you find the perfect fit.
This is a perfect way to find the right size for any kid when you understand how sizing works and what to look for in terms of fit. The process is actually really easy, so don't stress. Just find your measuring tape, and let's get started.
General Size Guide for Boys' Clothing
Children's clothing sizes are often the same for babies and toddlers, but once they're out of toddler clothing, girls and boys sizes begin to be cut differently. The exact sizing can vary.
"There is no set rule for an industrialized standard in [clothing] sizes" says Vice President of Sales and Merchandising at Classroom School Uniforms, Bill Bosch. However, the general boys' clothing size guide below gives you a basic idea of what size to look for with ages five and up, including S for slim and H for husky sizes.
Mr. Bosch shares that "some manufacturers use body measurements, and others use garment sizing" to determine boys' clothing sizes for their brand. He suggests actually having the kid try on the clothes before you buy them.
|Age||Number Size||Letter Size||Height||Weight||Chest||Waist|
|4-5||4/5||XS||38-43 inches||34-42 lbs.||22-24 inches||22-23 inches|
|5-6||6||S||44-48 inches||43-48 lbs.||24-25 inches||23-24 inches|
|6-7||7||S||47-50 inches||49-58 lbs.||25-26 inches||23-24 inches|
|7X||S||48-50 inches||59-61 lbs.||26-27 inches||24-25 inches|
|7-8||8||M||51-52 inches||62-68 lbs.||26-27 inches||24-25 inches|
|8S||49-50 inches||52-62 lbs.||26-27 inches||22 inches|
|8H||50-51 inches||67-73 lbs.||30-31 inches||28 inches|
|9-11||10/12||L||53-57 inches||69-100 lbs.||28-29 inches||25-26 inches|
|10/12S||55-58 inches||63-93 lbs.||28-29 inches||24 inches|
|10/12H||55-58 inches||81-110 lbs.||32-33 inches||29 inches|
|12-13||14/16||XL||58-63 inches||101-124 lbs.||30-33 inches||27-29 inches|
|14/16S||62-64 inches||94-114 lbs.||31-32 inches||26 inches|
|14/16H||59-64 inches||111-143 lbs.||35-36 inches||32 inches|
|14 +||18/20||XXL||64-67 inches||125-146 lbs.||34-36 inches||30-33 inches|
Toddler Boys' Clothing Size Guide
Toddler clothing is sized a little differently than the clothes for older kids. You can measure your little one and compare to this size chart to get the correct size.
|33.5-35 inches||30-32 lbs.||20-20.5 inches||20.5-21 inches|
|3||3T||35-38 inches||32-35 lbs.||20.5-21 inches||21-21.5 inches|
|4||4T||38-41 inches||35-39 lbs.||21-22 inches||21.5-22 inches|
|5||5T||41-44 inches||39-45 lbs.||22-23 inches||22-22.5 inches|
Sizing Tips for Boy's Clothes to Get the Perfect Fit
Start by measuring your kid using a flexible tape measure. Then keep these sizing tips in mind:
Try Clothes On When Possible
The best way to find a perfect fit for any kid is to have them try on every piece of clothing. When trying on isn't a viable option, measure your child properly, then compare his measurements against the manufacturer's size chart. If you're not sure on size, go with the bigger option you're considering.
Check Guidelines for Specific Brands
Since brands have their own sizing guidelines, you will see drastic variations from one to the next. To find the best fit for your kid, make sure to check the size guidelines for the specific brands you purchase.
Keep Track of Your Kid's Favorite Clothing Brands
Bosch says to make shopping easier, "remember the manufacturers and labels your son likes to wear." That way, "you can shop without him and not worry about the size problem."
It's Ok to Buy a Little Big
Bosch also says to "keep in mind that children's sizes are calculated for growth." That means that the clothing might be a little big at first, but it's designed for your kid to grow into it over the next few months. This is important, since we all know kids grow quickly.
Measure height by having your kid stand against a door or wall. For waist and chest, run a flexible tape measure loosely around that portion of the child. Keeping the tape measure loose helps ensure the fit won't be too tight.
Gender and Sizing
Traditionally, boys' clothing is not sized in exactly the same way as girls'. Expect the fit to be looser and allow for easier movement than many girls' clothing items in the same size.
Boys' sizes today include "regular, husky, and slim sizes," according to Bosch. However, he says, "Times are changing for boys as far as fashion goes."
Bosch shares the example at Classroom where a popular girls' style called "matchstick" in bottoms began to sell rapidly. When he called customers to inquire, Bosch found that boys were buying up this style. He says the brand responded and has "added a boys' narrow leg pant and short, which became bestsellers."
Gender-neutral clothing is becoming more popular, and many styles are changing to keep up. Most gender neutral clothing also follows the boy's sizing system, so if you want to buy clothing that doesn't place a child as male or female, going with a boys' size chart can help.
Understand Popular Brand Sizing
Every manufacturer, brand, and retailer can use different measurements for the same number or letter sizes. The bottom line is every brand has the ability to add, change, and design their own sizes and styles. What's best for each kid will be different, but Bosch says that "alphabetical sizing is much better for boys [clothing]" because each letter size includes more than one numerical size. For example, "a size M at Classroom is a 10/12."
These examples of popular brand size guidelines give you an idea on how diverse size charts can be.
Classroom School Uniforms
Classroom School Uniforms is a school uniform retailer with sizes for kids of every body type and age. Their standard size chart provides a guide for 2T through size 48-waist boys' and young men's clothing using height, chest, waist, hip, and inseam measurements and includes both alphabetical and numerical sizes.
Their chart for Husky sizes feature the same measurement options, and they provide a chart for young men's sizes meant for older teens with waist sizes from 28 to 48 inches.
Basic clothing and undergarment brand Hanes offers size charts for their t-shirts and sweats in addition to underwear. Boys' shirt sizes range from XS-XL. They use a chest and weight measurement to calculate sizes for youth. For example, a size Small is recommended for kids ages 6-8 with a 22-26 inch chest measurement and weighing 42-55 pounds.
Hanes sweats also run from size XS-XL, but these also include a waist measurement and match up with common number sizes. An XL in Hanes casual wear or sweats is equivalent to a boys' size 16/18 and fits kids weighing 100-126 pounds with a 27-28.5 inch waist.
Popular athletic brand Adidas provides a comprehensive clothing size chart for kids ages 4-14. Height, chest, waist, hip, and inseam measurements correspond to product labels with an age range and single number designation. Apparel for a 5-6-year-old is a number 116 for 44-46 inch tall kids while a 63-65 inch tall 13 or 14-year-old wears a 164.
For a more accurate fit, Adidas gives measurements in half-inch increments for most measurements and in tenth-of-a inch increments for inseams on larger boys' sizes.
Levi Straus & Co. separates their apparel sizes between Little Boys (2T-7X) and Big Boys (8-20). Little Boys' sizes are further split into measurement charts for toddlers, regular young kids, and slim young kids.
For Big Boys, you'll find charts for Regular (8-20), Slim (8S-20S), Husky (8H-20H), and Alpha (S-XL) styles. Height, weight, waist, and hip measurements are used along with age ranges to differentiate sizes. Levi's typically uses measurements to the nearest inch or pound except in the larger Husky sizes.
Popular preppy brand U.S. POLO ASSN. offers customers two sizing charts for boys' clothing, one in alphabetical sizes from XXS-XL and one in numeric sizes from 4 to 18. Alphabetical sizes are calculated with height and weight alone while numerical sizes use height, chest, and weight measurements. For example, a Large covers kids 55-59 inches tall, but a 10/12 covers kids 51-58 inches tall.
Finding the Right Size for Your Child
Kids will feel most comfortable and confident when wearing clothing that fits their specific body and lifestyle needs. When you understand clothing sizes, you can make the best choices in boys' clothing, from school styles to casual and athletic wear for the kid in your life.