Style Debate: A suit for an ultra casual workplace interview?

From the mailbag: Suit up for the interview or blend in?
From the Mailbag: Got a job interview at a t-shirt and jeans place

I’ve got an interview with an online startup company next week.  The recruiter said to wear “whatever you’d be comfortable in” and the dress code at their office is usually jeans and a t-shirt (I know, who’d have thought young Internet startups would have such relaxed culture, right?)

My casual wardrobe is a good bit better than the aforementioned combination, but should I suit up anyways?  Suit up, but with more individualistic flair (knit tie, wingtips)?  Risk it and dress down to try and blend in?

– Chris

The case FOR wearing a suit to this job interview:  No one ever botched a job interview because they showed up in a suit.  And if that really is a make or break case at this place, do you really want to work for someone who considers dressing professionally a mortal sin against a job candidate?  If it comes down to that, instead of your experience, potential, and passion for what you’d be doing, then it’s not a good place to be.  The recruiter already said where whatever you’d be comfortable in.  If you’re comfortable in a suit (which is the goal, right?) then why not?

The case AGAINST wearing a suit to this job interview:  This is tough.  They say “dress for the job you want”  but if you show up in a suit for an interview at a jeans and tee workplace, you run the risk of looking like you don’t want that gig, but something else.  You’ll also look like you didn’t do your research.  Good job candidates know as much as possible about the place they’re applying to.  It shows smarts and respect.  And speaking of respect, would you show up as a guest to a casual wedding in a tux?  It’s disrespectful to the host.  There’s a middle ground here for sure.  If it’s a t-shirt and jeans place, even for the managers, show up in your wingtips, knit tie, well fitting shirt and… a cotton sport coat and dark denim that’s free of distressing or whiskering.  You’re tipping your hat to the fact that you’re there to impress them, while also acknowledging the work environment they’ve cultivated and created.  If that still seems like too much of a risk, upgrade to clean 5-pocket style chinos or even clean grey jeans and go with a shirt that’s got some pattern to it for character.  But skip the suit.

Your turn guys.  What should Chris do?  Leave your take in the comments.  Top Photo Credit: Fernando Mafra