Elijah Carter on what defines his look: "I love vests. Vests are like my favorite accessory."

Elijah Carter

Job: Ohio State University sophomore

Neighborhood: East Side

Hometown: Columbus

Label your style: "Fashionably thrifty"

What defines your look?

I love vests. Vests are like my favorite accessory.

Is this how you usually wear them?

Yes. Or dressed up sometimes, with dress shoes and dress pants and maybe a nicer tie. That's why I love vests, because you can dress them up or dress them down.

They got popular in the last year or so. How long have you been wearing them?

Probably since high school.

Where do you get your style ideas?

At Express [where I work], we have to follow the trends. It's not an option. We have a Fashion 401 book, which is like the newest trends that are coming out, our top projected sellers.

Do you go shopping often?

Since I work in the mall, I'm always stopping in some store. So every time I work, I'm shopping. It's not good. [Laughs.]

Tell me about your shoe collection.

I have a lot of dress shoes. I have a lot of casual, loafer shoes. And then I love Pumas. Pumas are my thing. Because you can dress it up a little bit, or make it casual.

So you have lots of those?

Yes. It's so bad that I have four of the exact same style in different colors.

Do you get as casual as most other students?

A lot of my friends are like, "Why are you wearing jeans to class?" I'm like, "Why do you wear sweats every day?"

THE OUTFIT:

Shirt: a hand-me-down from his uncle

Vest: from a thrift store

Tie: Express

Jeans: Express

Belt: from a thrift store

Shoes: Gabriel Brothers

Watch: Fossil

Wallet chain: from a kiosk in Eastland Mall

To share your sense of style with Off The Rack, e-mail bkress@columbusalive.com