back to article HP insists 'we don't have a global dress code' – while deleting one from its website

HP Enterprise's head of HR says his company does not have a "global" dress code, while his minions quietly remove a webpage on workplace appearance from Last week, The Register reported that some R&D teams within HP Enterprise Services were told in a confidential internal memo to smarten up in the office. With …

  1. Your alien overlord - fear me

    With this sort of confusion...

    "With the head of HR publishing a video titled "Dress code? What dress code?", advice on office clobber vanishing without explanation, and management sending a confidential memo on what not to wear, El Reg can absolutely see why there is confusion on Planet HP"

    Hmm, they seem split on dress code. I know, why not split HP in two. That'll sort all their problems.

  2. Anonymous Coward

    Not sure what the fuss is about...

    ...pretty much every company I know has a dress "code".

    If your in a public facing (by public that includes any sort of client), you are expected to be smart.

    Other departments can be more casual, but there is a different between casual and scruffy.

    Clothes that show to much flesh (short shorts, crop tops etc) are a no-no as are clothes with rude words or offensive logos.

    1. Diogenes

      Re: Not sure what the fuss is about...

      Exactly !

      The same sort of fuss was made when our beloved Minister of Education insisted on minimum standards for teachers (NSW-Aus). 99% of us realised we complied anyway, except the ladies were taken a bit aback when our WHS rep suggested open toed shoes were not a good idea in "practical" work spaces including science labs

    2. streaky Silver badge

      Re: Not sure what the fuss is about...

      Clothes that show to much flesh (short shorts, crop tops etc) are a no-no as are clothes with rude words or offensive logos

      I know what we need. Burkas for everybody!

    3. Stoneshop Silver badge

      Re: Not sure what the fuss is about...

      ...pretty much every company I know has a dress "code".

      There was this snippet of a job interview I read on Usenet: "Do you guys have a dress code?"

      "Well, um, we prefer you're dressed, yes."

    4. ckm5

      Re: Not sure what the fuss is about...

      I know plenty of companies where the CEO wears board shorts & flip-flops. One CEO I know has even been known to wear a dress shirt, jacket with board shorts & flip-flops to conferences & client meetings.

      And the guy who founded Razorfish pitched the AT&T board in a torn sweater....

      Not sure what companies you deal with, but it's pretty rare for a Silicon Valley tech firm (except perhaps the ones in defense) to have a dress code of any kind. Pretty much an anathema to geek culture where it is seen as a sign of the end of the world....

  3. Hans 1 Silver badge

    Where, ohhh where is Matt Bryant when you need him ? Installing Windows 10?

    Apple has absolutely NO dress code, you can turn up in a nightgown if you so wish ... except in Apple stores, there, you must wear a silly T.

    1. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Just a t-shirt???? That might draw a crowd depending on who's wearing it.

      1. Anonymous Coward

        Especially if it's a wet T-shirt

      2. John H Woods Silver badge

        "Just a t-shirt???? That might draw a crowd depending on who's wearing it" -- Mark85

  4. Naselus

    Really, the dress code for tech companies should match the personality of the company. IBM should make everyone wear full suits at all times. Apple should require staff to wear completely new sets of cloths every day with different numbers of limb slots from the last lot to ensure no backward compatibility. Microsoft should copy Apple as best they can, but for legacy reasons never quite manage it. Google should wear creepy cloths which report back the wearer's location, date of birth, and sexual preferences every 25 minutes.

    1. dotdavid

      HP staff would be forced by the company to buy genuine HP clothes whenever they changed them, which cost a bloody fortune.

      1. Neil Alexander

        Re: genuine HP clothes

        They also would need to be green on one side, blue on the other and be separable with zips.

      2. Stoneshop Silver badge

        They would need to order their clothes through the HP website, which would more often than not result in a Seriously Large Box being delivered, containing two memory modules, a set of rack mounting bolts and a software license for the Fortran compiler for HP-UX V7.

        1. Mpeler


          "and a software license for the Fortran compiler for HP-UX V7."

          as well as the software license for HP New Wave that you've been waiting 25 years for and no longer have a drive that can read it (nor a PC that needs it).....

      3. Mpeler

        Just wonder what they'd do when they lose their delivery (or build) slot and the clothes won't be available for another month.....

        And don't get me going on delete options and 00A-009 stuff, not to mention ABA and ABD...

    2. VinceH Silver badge

      Microsoft should make everyone wear each new day's clothes on top of all previous layers.

      1. Stoneshop Silver badge

        Microsoft clothes

        would be, ahem, more decorative than functional, exposing body parts that you'd rather not expose. Sew-on patches for these wardrobe malfunctions will become available on alternate Tuesdays when there's no 'u' or 'r' in the month, and the year is a prime number. Employees have taken to stripping and starting with a fresh set of clothes roughly every three months

      2. Christian Berger Silver badge

        "Microsoft should make everyone wear each new day's clothes on top of all previous layers."

        Which people happily do as each new layer of clothes only covers just enough to not yet be comforable.

        So you still would need your 1986 shoes as your fancy new 2015 shoes have no soles.

        1. Woza
          Thumb Up

          "have no soles"

          I see what you did there! Have an upvote,

        2. Stoneshop Silver badge


          Their employees have no restrictions on the clothes they wear, as long as it has an extremely large number of pockets that passers-by can put stuff into or take their stuff out again.

          Flickr employees wear similar clothing, but their pockets can only hold photos.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Amazon's clothes would be comfortable, functional and free (initially) with the promise that they seamlessly grow and shrink with your waistline.

      But then you'd find it hard to take them off and have a creeping uncertainty about who to call if your liver suddenly stopped functioning.

  5. GreggS


    Go naked to work day!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Friday

      Here at the nudest society we are naked every day, we find it's much cheaper on clothing and reduces the the time taken to get ready for work.

      It does have a downside though as we've had one or two unfortunate accidents with draws and filing cabinets.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Friday

        I assume you're sticking to the traditional desktop?

        1. Mark 85 Silver badge

          Re: Friday

          I assume you're sticking to the traditional desktop?

          There's a mental image there.... need beer to clear it from my brain... lots of beer.

          1. earl grey Silver badge

            Re: Friday

            more like they're sticking to their chair.

            getting my coat; leaving now so's i don't flash anyone.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "Considerably more nude than you"

        "Here at the nudest society we are naked every day"

        Most nudists take all their clothes off, so I don't see how anyone could be more nude than all of them, despite claiming to be "nudest".

  6. Little Mouse

    Dress-Down Friday

    It's dress-down Friday at my workplace today. The long, long, list of overly-specific rules on exactly what does and does not qualify as suitable attire would suggest that they consider us incapable of dressing ourselves without help.

    It's an initiative to help boost flagging morale...

    1. Triggerfish

      Re: Dress-Down Friday

      It's dress down Friday at my place, which means those who wear suits come in in casual and pay two quid to charity, and those of us who never wear suits come in, in what we wear normally and also play two quid to charity. I find myself somewhat ambivalent about this.

  7. DropBear Silver badge

    What folly is this - we've always been at war with Eastasia! I mean, never have been. Or something. Hey, look, squirrel!

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Nice of HP to give an old joke a new outing

    Q: How can you tell when an HR rep is lying?

    A: Their lips are moving

    As a wise colleague larned me: the primary function of HR is protecting the company from its staff. And their primary weapon is pretending to be on the staff's side. So, just as with politicians, the first thing to ask yourself when they speak is "why is this lying bastard telling me this specific lie right now?"

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Funny how US employees...

    ... get their shorts in a twist about 'freedom of expression' of dress code, whilst happily working long unpaid overtime where no job security is considered normal.

  10. disgruntled yank Silver badge


    Shouldn't it add to the project's nerd cred if the staff appear to have dressed themselves out of the dumpster, in the dark? It was said in the early 1960s that one proved one's genius at IBM by growing a beard and not getting fired for it.

    1. Paul Shirley

      Re: Really?

      We recently heard from a reliable source (well, as reliable as anyone in banking can be) about a tech startup that reminds it's employees when potential investors are visiting. That gives them time to clutter the office with bikes, skateboards etc. and dress down with baseball hats/shorts/t-shirts. It's what the investors expect!

  11. Trygve Henriksen

    My favorite T-Shirt to wear to work has a picture of the devil, and the text "God is busy, can I help you?"... (Yeah, I work in IT support) Still haven't been told to get rid of it...

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Am I the only one thinking that HP *should* have a dress code?

    Turning up in shorts and t-shirt to the office just isn't professional.

    The benefit from having a 'uniform' is far greater than the imaginary freedom. There's no judgement over anyone's choice or discussion over whether Ted's crude tshirt is too offensive or just expression. There's no arguing about aircon temp because people have chosen different weights of clothing. Context switching is far easier, you put on a suit you are thinking about work, you take it off at the end of the day and you can immediately forget about work and relax.

    1. Captain Hogwash Silver badge

      Re: There's no arguing about aircon temp

      There's rather more to this than clothing weight. Everyone here is happily wearing t-shirts but I'm freezing with a jumper and jacket on. As for context switching, if you are a software engineer then it's a way of life and doesn't require the help of a change of clothes.

    2. Triggerfish

      Re: Am I the only one thinking that HP *should* have a dress code?

      actually if I put on a suit I am thinking, when can I get rid of these restricting clothes.

    3. Paul Shirley

      Re: Am I the only one thinking that HP *should* have a dress code?

      When I was young&slim enough to fit in it, putting on my suit was the context switch to 'we're going out for the night, yippee!'. Gorgeous black velvet, far too good to waste on work.

    4. Swiss Anton

      Re: Am I the only one thinking that HP *should* have a dress code?

      Dress code is a lot like religion. There are the zealots out there who have the irrational notion that what they believe is the truth and by following their them you will be superior to lesser mortals. Somehow they never seem to be able to provide concrete proof that they are right.

      Seriously, how does wearing one style of clothing make you better? Can someone explain to me how forcing someone to wear uncomfortable clothing will make them more "professional"? To me, being professional is about developing software that is free of bugs, is delivered on time, is easy to maintain and makes money for both my employer and the customer. It isn't about being a fashion model.

      ..... Breath.

      By the way, there is this dude in Syria telling me that I must become a follower of his religion (or he will shoot me). I don't have a religious belief, what should I do?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @Swiss Anton - Re: Am I the only one thinking that HP *should* have a dress code?

        I guess you should accommodate his religious beliefs and convert unless you can put a safe distance between the two of you. What's a religion when you compare it to a 7.62mm bullet coming towards you from an AK-47 ?

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @AC - Re: Am I the only one thinking that HP *should* have a dress code?

      Absolutely, my beautiful friend!

      I always knew our communist regime was way ahead of its time. We had uniforms starting from nursery all the way to the adult life, and we were constantly told to be proud of them. And believe me, we had better be proud of our uniforms if not....

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Am I the only one thinking that HP *should* have a dress code?

      I couldn’t care less if someone comes to work in shorts and a t-shirt or a suit. What’s important to me is the quality of their work. A pile of dog poo isn’t going to taste any better just because it was prepared by a guy in an Armani suit

      1. Darryl

        Re: Am I the only one thinking that HP *should* have a dress code?

        I worked for an IT manager who insisted us minions wear a suit, even on Fridays when everyone else was wearing t-shirts because he thought it would make us look professional and would reflect well on him. One of the reasons cited when he was fired was that he was too stuffy for the culture of the business.

    7. Mr Dogshit

      Re: Am I the only one thinking that HP *should* have a dress code?

      HP does have a dress code - several in fact. There isn't a global one, but each site has one.

      Funny that. At the site where I worked, most of the work we did was for the Ministry of Defence. They would regularly visit. The civil servants wore suits, and the military personnel turned up in uniform. Now if you're paying millions to a company, you don't want to find a bunch of hairy arsed blokes who look like rejects from a Linux convention.

      If you're a bin man, you wear overalls. If you're a pilot, you wear a pilot's uniform. If you work in a fucking office, you wear a shirt and tie. Is that too difficult to understand? There's a time and a place to wear certain things. You wouldn't turn up to your sister's funeral in cowboy boots, a deer stalker and a bow tie, so stop fucking whinging about not being allowed to wear your crappy heavy metal t-shirt and Birkenstocks to work, okay?

      1. ckm5

        Re: Am I the only one thinking that HP *should* have a dress code?

      2. Paul Shirley

        Re: wouldn't turn up to your sister's funeral in cowboy boots

        If people turn up at my funeral in suit's they'll get turned away at the wake while I turn in my urn. Why make a bad day worse.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    They should have a dress code

    ...for those so socially challenged that you need to advise them how to dress for work.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: They should have a dress code

      ...and yet those that object to wearing a suit are the ones that need the advice the most. ;)

  14. This post has been deleted by its author

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Liar, Liar, Kilt on Fire!

    If you catch HR people lying about trivia like this, why would you trust them on important things like your career?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Liar, Liar, Kilt on Fire!

      Did you ever trust them with your career? Although ts be fair to B&d days at HP, there was a budget for staff development that went beyond the odd tech course. The sainted Carly did for that

  16. jonnycando


    In the Southern states of USA you can easily buy linen suits suitable for warm weather. Look good, stay cool, buy linen!

    1. Gavin King

      Re: Linen

      Except my experience of linen suits is that it only takes so much as a look at the thing to make it entirely wrinkled and worse looking than nothing. (Well, not nothing, but you get what I mean.)

  17. jonnycando

    Re: Linen

    Well, they do get wrinkly, but...........

    1. DiViDeD Silver badge

      Re: Well, they do get wrinkly, but...........

      Let's face it, so do those of us wot wears em!

  18. Ticl

    Now fix HP Smart Install *hhhngggghhhhhh*!

  19. luis river

    HP fake

    HP always it has been a hypocritical company, "HPway" shakes but it leaves without work to thousands family parents, HP is a greedy company that the only thing that looks for is easy enrichment everything the rest it is pure fantasy, HPlabs, the jewel of the crown of HP they are not what seems, memristor it has been the fiasco of the century, Intel working with modesty, has achieved it with its memory "3D xpoint". HP should disappear for the mediocre thing that they are its mangement and its products.

  20. 2+2=5 Silver badge

    Burleson Oracle Consulting

    Blatant plug but he seems to have it nailed. ;-)

  21. Zuagroasta

    HP is schizo in so many ways... good memories. I used to catch some guff from my HP local DM while being an in-plant for a certain Nordic company that didn't have ANY dress code (Viva Suomi! Haakka päälle!!!) so we had a lot of fun needling her about being the only squares in a young, boisterous environment (my HP US managers didn't seem to mind, given that they were all engineers, hands-on nerds and went to work in 40-degree Texas heat in the summer)

    That meant totally contradictory "dress codes" depending on which country you had an answer from... we ended up wearing whatever we wanted, and since the work implied everything from setting up routers and switches to actually moving and racking these routers & switches across Mexico City, I ended up wearing army surplus every day and once won a Halloween party contest in my unaltered work getup!

    Professionalism? Like I told a HR interviewer once "The moment you find a tie that gives you a Cisco cert just by wearing it, call me! I want to buy some..."; habit and cowl does not a monk make, and if you want to look formal in an IT department, the old standby from the mainframe days is always available, highly practical, much more resistant than suits and ties, and impressive as hell: white lab smocks, preferably with company logo sewn on.

  22. James Pickett

    I'm not sure that someone who thinks it's OK to wear a plaid baseball cap should be giving advice about anything.

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