Kids T-shirt Sizing (Uh OH!)

Kids T-shirt Sizing

The History

OK – We blame the USA on this one 🙂 30 years ago they were putting Medium / 10-12 in the neck label of a shirt that was perfect for a 7 year old (!?!) If anybody out there knows about this old skool USA sizing, please do post a comment.

Somewhere in the 2000’s T-shirt manufacturers dropped the nonsensical USA size scale and either included an age to fit or just the size name, Medium for instance. Ahh – easy. Small would fit a 5-6 year old, Medium a 7-8 year old … and so on … Unfortunately simplicity did not last any longer than peace in the middle east.

The strangest things started to happen in the USA, not only was George W Bush elected for a second term but a “Retail Spec” began to gain traction – sizes got the supersize me, hormone +coke+pie X 2 treatment…  Suddenly a Medium was the size of an old XL – That’s right a Medium is big enough to fit a 13 year old!

Gildan’s 5000B Kids Heavy-T is made for the american market and yes, it is used in Retail. So in 2015 Kids Retail Spec T-shirts arrived in the UK. By this point you may be reaching peak confusion – so lets show you what you actually get.

Sizes in 2017

On *all* the photos below:

Yellow = Gildan 5000B Heavy T

Red = Fruit of the Loom 610330 Valueweight T

White = Gildan 64000B Softstyle

All the above are size Large and you can see how the Yellow retail spec T is a completely different size to the other shirts.

Silver Lining – if you care about price!

If you are supplying a Junior school with 100 T-shirts in either Fruit or in Softstyle we would expect you to need about 40 of those shirts in Adult sizes, so

100 T-shirts = £160*

With the Gildan 5000B, you would not need any adult sizes. Kids sizes are cheaper and you would not pay VAT (Many clubs and schools are not VAT registered) so you will save.

100 T-shirts = £130* Bargain!

*Based on case price on black T-shirts at 2017 prices

Always about price..GRRR!    –     Lets get back to the sizes!

Time to draft in the models! K is 9 years and 4 months, she is 137cm tall a little more athletic than most, but spot on for average height. For K the best fit is

G64000B = Large

F610330 = 7-8 (Medium)

G5000B = XS

Now, as with most Kids sizing is not critical, one size Either way would be OK too. The important part is that you and your customer understand how widely these sizes differ.


Z Is 6 and 10 Months, at 116 cm she is slightly smaller than average. None of the Heavy cotton T-shirts fitted her. She actually described them as being like a dress!

Size Small is a fit for her, in both the 64000B & 610330


Surely there must be a smaller size available in the Kids Heavy T than the XS – After all kids come in smaller sizes than 9 years old?!? Yes – welcome the G5100P Todler T – unfortunately the colour range is significantly reduced, at the time of writing (2017) there are only 6 colours compared with 33 colours in the 5000B.

Key Take-away…

If you need Shirt to fit about 8 years old and up – Gildan 5000B is PERFECT! you will get 5 sizes between about an 8 year old and a Medium Adult. Good colour range, amazing quality and price.

If you need to fit kids younger than 8, say for a primary school, check the colour range on the 5100P OR choose one of the other shirts.

Please do WATCH OUT if you have a stock problem on a size or colour and would normally substitute with a similar style (We often substitute adult Heavy and Ultras for instance, or some customers mix the styles to get the full colour range, say they like heavies but need Sand so take that in Ultras.). None of the kids styles are a comparable size and whatever you do … it will be very confusing for the end customer when the shirts are being handed out.

Disclaimer PAG  was established in 1969. We distribute clothing and therefore do have a little bias – but we also have a lot of experience, a reputation for honesty and product knowledge. We hope the honest knowledge bit comes over strongly and always try to keep our bias in check!


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