Vitamin E(ssentials)

Pea Coat

Let’s get nerdy for a second. As a pharmacy student, I often come across the term “essential”. Certain organic compounds, such as vitamins and amino acids are deemed this because our bodies cannot synthesize them natively. Essentially, you don’t have them and you need to get them.

As a student of fashion, I’ve learned that there are essentials of style, too—must-haves that can be worn many times and in many different ways. So here’s a look into my closet at some items I think us dudes should be rocking this winter. You might not have them and you need to get them.

Crewneck Sweatshirt

1) This is easily the most worn shirt in my wardrobe. First off, it’s a neutral color that matches with almost anything. But, the heathered (flecked, distressed threading, in case you didn’t know) cotton makes it unique. Second, it is insanely versatile. You can wear it on its own for a casual vibe, or you can dress it up by throwing a collared shirt underneath it. Lastly, it’s perfectly weighted to help with the cold, but light enough to act as a layering piece.

Shirt Jacket

2) Keeping with the versatility theme, try investing in a hybrid piece, what I like to call a “shircket”. This millitary-inspired top is a little thicker than most shirts, so it can also double as outerwear. (Bonus tip: You can add some spark to your shirts with pockets by throwing in a pocket square. Here, I cut up an old camoflauge shirt to brighten up the navy.)

Puffer Vest

3) Vests are a perfect solution for big, muscly guys like me who can’t contain their guns within constricting jackets. Toss one on over any outfit for extra warmth and swank. They’re also a huge trend right now in the fashion game, so if you like to keep with the times, grab one of these bad boys.

Pea Coat

4) When you can’t rock just a vest, I’d recommend a peacoat. The pictured piece is one of my favorite items because it perfectly represents my sense of style, “clean street” (basically, my self-coined term for infusing contemporary clothing with streetwear). It takes the formula of a traditional peacoat, a typically preppy staple, but twists it with an assymetrical zipper and cuff straps. It’s important that your winter jacket is something you really like because you’re going to be wearing it often.

Dyed Denim

5) Now that our upper body is taken care of, let’s move on to some essential pants. Because friends don’t let friends skip leg day. This season, instead of wearing that same old pair of jeans, opt for some dyed denim. Check mine out. They’re still your trusty navy blue, but colored evenly all the way through. Since they don’t really look like jeans, they can be worn a little more formally. They also have a cool feature, a khaki interior that’s revealed when cuffed.

Corduroy Pants

6) Some people might call these old-fashioned, but they’re making a comeback. Now, in slim and skinny fits, they’ve been revamped for the modern man. If you don’t want to stray too far away from your jeans, transition into these by finding a black pair. The added texture and warmth make them a great alternative.

Sweat Pants

7) I used to never wear sweats outside of the house until I found this skinny, tapered pair, the ultimate in luxe comfort. They’re perfect for just hanging out or making quick trips around campus. Experiment with these by pairing them with non-lounge items. The contrast between a nice button-down shirt and these joggers can actually make for a really cool, unique outfit. (Bonus tip: I avoid wearing them to class because I know their super softness would cause me to fall asleep even more often than I already do.)

Desert Boots

8) These sand-colored desert boots are my go-to winter footwear. They match with most outfits and the suede combats the cold well. You could probably go the entire season (barring snow) wearing just these, since they’re appropriate for all sorts of occasions if worn correctly.

Beanie & Scarf

9) Can’t complete an essentials list without some accessories. These two meet all the requirements of a good essential. They’re stylish, functional, and versatile. The hat can be worn folded or unfolded, or with your hair down or slicked back beneath it. The scarf has a lot of possibilities, too. Try various ways of tying it to see which you like best. I prefer leaving mine untied, just draped around my neck.

That’s a wrap. These 9 pieces can be a primary portion of your winter repertoire. Even though a lot of guys don’t own these items, they’re a good investment since you’ll get a lot of use out of them. Remember, try to keep them neutrally colored and make sure they can be dressed up or down. Don’t be afraid to test out different combinations to keep your outfit rotation varied. So whether you’re on campus toughing out the last few weeks of the semester, or hitting up a holiday party, keep it simple and look no further than this list to make a trendy statement…because looking sharp is just as essential as taking your vitamins.

Stay swanky. Stay savvy.

Sheldon