A variety of children's clothing styles have been available in various age groupings. Often huvenile fashions might be availanle in sizes up to school age ot in some styles to 6 and 7. Other styles were often availble in sizes from about 6 0r 7 to 10 or 12. Older bouys styles might be available from 10, but more commonly about 12. These size groupings have varied over time, by country, and the specific garment involved. This is a topic HBC plans to identify in more detail.
One HBC contributor comments, "You are right that 10 seems to be a line of demarcation, stylistically for American short pants suits, with somewhat more mature styles produced for boys older than 10 or so." He asks, "Have you detected any other turning points, say for ages 14 or 15 and above, that marks their clothes as more mature than those for 10-14 age group?" HBC is not prepared to answer this question at this time, but does hope to pursue it in the future.
Many clothing catalogs advertising children's clothes describe the sizes in years. This means the average size child. Some children, of course, are smaller or larger than average. These sizes have also changed over time as today's better fed children are often larger than children in earlier times.
The German metric clothing sizes are by the child's height, and assume that
children grow 6cm per year. Studying my own growth chart that turns out to be
98 - 3
104 - 4
110 - 5
116 - 6
122 - 7
128 - 8
134 - 9
140 - 10
146 - 11
152 - 12
158 - 13
164 - 14 (It gets less precise here. You know what a wide disperity there can
be in the heights of 14-year-old boys!)
These charts provide an idea of childrens clothing sized in the 1990s. The numbers are in inches and refer to a boy's height.
25 - 28
33 - 34
20 - 21
19 - 20
20-1/2 - 21-1/2
54 - 57
48 - 50
25 - 26
22 - 23
25 - 26
54 - 57
49 - 51
25 - 25-1/2
22 - 22-1/2
26 - 27
Here is another German size chart.
Körpergröße in cm
HBC has little information on how these sizes were set. The U.S. Agriculture Department conducted a major measuring survey of more than 147,000 American children aged 4-17 in 1938-39. The Commerce Department published a report of the findings in 1941. The data were meant to be used to create measurement standards for the garment industry, and other countries followed suit and conducted their own, similar surveys wg\hich is why the sizes vary from country to country.
Many American boys (but not girls) at the turn of the 21st century liked weariung oversized clothing. This was especially true of pants several sizes too big. Parents are somewhere between puzzled and horrified at this fashion. It was not always boys who wanted clothes in large sizes. More commonly it was thrifty moms who ordered over-sized cloithing. It used to me moms who would always order clothes a size larger than the boys. Some especially thrifty moms ordered clothes two sizeslarger than the boy. HBC presumes that moms also did the same for her daughters. We wonder if there was any difference here.
Assessing the age ranges for hosery is complicated, but we have begun to collect information in an effort to better understand the catalog ad copy. Some of the charts we found also include shoe sizes. Not only is there a lack of consistency within countries and over time, but we note different systems in different countries.
Footwear like hosiery sizes are complicated. They are often dine with ranges for different age children. This complication is further complicated by different systems in different country. Nor are the systems wuthin a country always consisted. We note a Sears estimate in 1950.
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