What are you wearing?

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

A middle-aged woman thumbing through the racks at teen girls' store Vanity probably doesn't seem out of place -- until she goes to try something on.

Joan Vanzant feels more comfortable making mall trips there with her niece, even though she'd happily browse for herself under the guise of gift shopping.

Hey, if it fits, there's plenty of reasons not to be embarrassed.

Vanzant stops in the shop for cheap, quality clothes that match her work and casual looks.

She won "best dressed" among her senior classmates in high school, said Vanzant, adding that she's never been a "T-shirt person."

Instead, her style is simple: lots of black and brown pieces that are fitted, flattering and have some sort of trendy flair. So simple, even, that she used to rarely wear jewelry.

But a co-worker who makes necklaces got her into it recently, and Vanzant now has "loads" of earrings and necklaces.

And while she also has loads of shoes, almost all of her 50 or 60 pairs are different styles of black or brown. Colorful shoes have "always been weird, to me," Vanzant said.

Her mom knows what she likes. The two go shopping nearly every time her parents visit from her hometown, Washington Court House.

"She'll be like, 'Oh, I saw these shirts that look just like you,'" Vanzant said. "And, obviously, 99.9 percent of the time, she hits the nail on the head."

Vanzant spends a lot of time shopping -- even her coworkers notice she's always wearing new clothes. So what's the secret to keeping spending in check? Almost everything she buys can be worn on and off the clock. She finds most of her favorites at TJ Maxx, Marshalls and, of course, Vanity.

The outfit:

Sweater: from Vanity

Tank top: New York & Company

Jeans: Lucky jeans

Shoes: from Nordstrom

Necklace and earrings: from Vanity

Black pearl ring: from Sears in Hawaii. "I liked it because of the turtles, because obviously turtles are a big thing in Hawaii."


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