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twistedm in hp_britglish

men's clothing question

Would a 21 or so year old Harry wear a "shirt" or a "top" for a first date? It's not a jumper/sweater, they are going out to lunch in June. It's green and Draco thinks it looks nice on him and I realized I don't know if Draco would think of it as a shirt, a top, or some other word.

Thanks!
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Unless it's a button down, it'd be a top, or possibly even a t-shirt, depending on how casually Harry is dressed.
What style is it? A button down is a shirt. A t -shirt is a t-shirt. A polo is a shirt. For other styles reference the website of a British retailer like Marks and Spencer (probably not where Harry shops, but it's late and it's at the top of my head) .
To my mind 'top' is more a word for women's clothes, because they tend to come in such a variety of shapes, many of which don't have specific names. (Take for example a hip-length, boat-necked item with cap sleeves, not designed to be tucked in to the skirt/trousers. Maybe people in the clothing trade have a special name for something like that, but in ordinary conversation there's really no word you could use to comment on that other than 'your blue top'.)

But men's clothes are much less varied in shape, and in June Harry is really only likely to be wearing a shirt (collar, buttons all the way), a t-shirt, or a polo shirt. And if Draco is noticing this garment enough to comment on it at all, he'll notice what kind of garment it is and say 'I like your shirt / t-shirt / polo'.
Seconded - I too tend to associate "top" with women's clothes.
'Button down' is not, in my experience (I'm English in my late 50s) a UK English term. If Harry's shirt has buttons down the front, Draco would call it a shirt. I think he would even call a polo/quidditch shirt a shirt.

(And you don't ask this so you probably know but, to an English person, 'pants' are underwear! Harry would be wearing 'trousers' or 'jeans').
Ditto - in fact, I only ever encounter 'button down' in fanfic!
I've only encountered it to mean 'button-down collar'. In fact if I read 'button-down shirt' I would have taken for granted that's what was meant, till now.
That's right - I also thought this is what it's supposed to mean.

Another thing I keep stumbling over is 'dress shirt': I used to think that fanfic characters walk around in black tie a lot, until I realised that what is meant, apparently, is just an ordinary formal-ish shirt, with buttons.
Is it? Gosh. Like you, I think of a dress shirt as something that goes exclusively with black (or white) tie.
If it has buttons down the front and a collar (and is, as a rule, woven) - it's a shirt. If it's knitted and long-sleeved - it's a jersey (the top part of sports kit can also be called that). If it's knitted and short-sleeved - it's a t-shirt. If it's knitted and has a collar and a few buttons - it's a polo. If it's collarless with a buttoned opening, woven or knitted - it's a grandfather shirt.The word 'top' is acceptable, but I'd say that it mostly applies to jerseys or light jumpers (which is basically the same thing).

Edited at 2017-04-23 11:47 am (UTC)
Which is probably as good a place as any to say that in British English jumper is a unisex term for a jersey, and in the Royal Navy is a sailor's square-collared blouse, but is never used to mean a woman's overdress as it is in the USA!
I did not know that about the RN uniform... in fact, I probably never knew or thought what it's called.
Thank you both!