If you’ve got a 2-year-old on your hands, you’ve probably reached a mommy milestone: the one where you wonder what the heck the difference is between a size 24-month garment in the baby department and the same basic garment that’s a size 2T in the toddler department. After all, 24 months is 2 years, right? (We’re pretty confident we’ve got the math right on that.) So why do both sizes exist — and which one should you buy for your child?
That all depends. Is your 24-month-old a baby or a toddler? Still confused? As far as fashion is concerned, if your child is crawling and wears a diaper, you’ve got a baby. If your child is walking and potty-trained, you’ve got a toddler on your hands. The difference between a size 24 months and a size 2T takes this into consideration to accommodate your child’s (and your) needs. “Babies come in all shapes and sizes, so some 12-month-olds could be wearing clothes that are size 18-24 months,” says Emily Meyer, co-founder and chief creative officer of Tea Collection. “That’s why the sizing for 24 months and 2T is different. The silhouette for 24-month sizes is rounder — ideal for a healthy, growing baby of any age who might still be crawling. Size 2T clothes, on the other hand, are intended for early walkers. The silhouette is less round and more upright to allow for easier movement as your little toddler starts to really get around.”
The differences between the two sizes also take moms into account. “Expect to find extra room for diapers and often snaps inside the legs to make changing easy,” says Mellicia Marx, owner of Poplin Style Direction, a personal style service that works with kids. “A toddler, according to brand logic, is likely potty-trained and no longer needs extra room for diapers. It’s also worth keeping in mind that kids’ clothes are usually sized in age ranges that end in the highest month. For instance, 24-month items are generally made for 18- to 24-month-old babies, and 2T is intended for 2- to 3-year-old kids.
Another difference? Clothes that are marked 24 months are usually more “babyish “in terms of style than those that are 2T. “If you prefer your little one to wear a miniature version of grownup clothes, you may find more selection in the 2T world,” says Marx.