Brandon Cole purposefully tries to stand out from the sea of polos and jeans, but Columbus pop culture seems to be catching on.

Brandon Cole purposefully tries to stand out from the sea of polos and jeans, but Columbus pop culture seems to be catching on.

Bright colors have been Cole's favorite since before the '80s came back this year. Kanye West and Pharrell Williams, both known for their highlighter-colored, pop-art designs, are his style icons.

Still, he has a difficult time putting a label to his exact look.

"It's more like a skateboarder, polo-type look, but it's urban at the same time. And a preppy-type look," Cole said.

His secret for standing out from the ordinary - and in menswear, choices are limited, he adds - is shopping Columbus' forgotten malls.

"It's the same stuff, and that's where everyone gets their clothes," he said of Polaris, Tuttle and Easton. "No one really goes to Eastland because it's a low-key mall ... but you see all kinds of varieties of stores."

Hot Topic, Forever 21, TJ Maxx and Old Navy are some other favorites.

Lots of bandanas and blazers, bright shoes with graffiti designs and a pair of white cowboy boots that always surprise people are among his favorite pieces. And accessories - in his case, chain or seashell necklaces, bracelets and a watch - are important to balance with an outfit, he said.

Toning it down a bit is important, he added. Like the slim-fit, colored jeans he's seen in Chicago. "If you start wearing that, you'll get made fun of here," Cole said. "You don't want to look like a clown."

How does he know what's over the line? He takes cues from entertainment shows. And asks his mom.

"Mom knows best," said Cole, who's from Columbus and lives in Reynoldsburg. "'Cause Mom will be like, 'No, you're not going out looking crazy like that.'"


The outfit

Cut-off hoodie: Forever 21

Bandana: from Hot Topic. "You go in there and there's a lot of crazy stuff, and it stands out."

T-shirt: from Foot Locker

Shorts: Old Navy

Shoes: from a shoe store in Eastland Mall

Chain: from Eastland Mall

Belt: Express