When I first encountered Taylor Scheer, owner of the men's clothing store The Style Lab, out on the sidewalk in front of his store -- 1338 E. 15th St.-- I thought, "What on earth is he wearing?" Knowing he'd just come from the golf course, it was somewhat surprising to encounter him in an Ikat print muscle shirt, faded blue chino shorts, a Saint Louis Cardinals ball cap and crocodile loafers. "Please excuse my sunburn," he said with a grin. But then he carried himself with such confidence, his eccentric ensemble quickly grew on me.
Nary a feminine touch in sight, The Style Lab is both sleek and cozy with a decor of rugged horizontal wood paneling, concrete floors, metal locker room bins (complete with boxer briefs hanging from the drawers), broken in leather chairs, St. Louis Cardinal stadium seats and a bumper pool table from the 80s. "Clean and manly," Scheer described it as he kicked back in an armchair like he might as well be sitting in his own living room.
The Style Lab isn't the fruit of a lifelong dream of a career in fashion or retail. It's much simpler than that. It was born out of Scheer's entrepreneurial attitude of "find a need and fill it."
"This store was mainly built out of frustration," he said. "I've always enjoyed fashion, and I got tired of having to go all the way to Dallas to buy clothes, so I opened the kind of store where guys like me and my friends would want to shop."
On top of that, he wanted something unique.
"What I wanted to achieve is a store like nothing else in Tulsa," he said. "What you see here is only 1/4th of my original business plan. I'm trying to grow conservatively, but I definitely have plans for future expansion."
What specifically happens to be working at the Style Lab is its laid-back, diverse, and at times, outright ironic clothing. You can expect to see such novelties as bow ties made of wood and Oklahoma City Thunder tanks bearing a minimal graphic of Lionel Ritchie's mug.
But take heed gentlemen, clothes do not make the man -- at least, not entirely. If you're a wreck from the neck up, all that snazzy dressing might just be in vain. That's where Justin Moore -- owner of The Elephant in the Room and Scheer's friend, customer and stylistic peer -- comes in.
Moore opened the men's grooming lounge at 16th and Boston in 2012 in hopes of a revival of the men's grooming experience. Men used to frequent the barber shop, getting a haircut and a shave, but with the rise of cosmetology, barbering became less popular.
However, as metrosexuals become commonplace and manscaping is, like, a thing now, Moore seems to be ahead of the curve.
He set out to take the best of the salon and spa experience and incorporate a men's lounge, barbershop-style feel that shows that men can be well-groomed and still be manly. There are all sorts of services offered that most men have forgotten about, including a straight-razor shave, mini-facials, and even something called beard sculpting.
There are about to be even more well-groomed manly men on the streets of Tulsa, as Moore plans to open second location out south.
While Elephant offers classic services (and adult beverages and ESPN, too, boys), Scheer's Style Lab offers some more classic looks in addition to shirts with an '80s pop star on them. You can also find staples such as soft grey henleys and classic dark denim jeans by Nudie Jeans Company -- jeans Scheer called a "bachelor's dream," because the manufacturer advises that you wash them only every six months or so.
"We carry Nudie Jeans because they're made really well and the company practices sustainable manufacturing. The jeans are 100% dry organic denim. Denim doesn't hold bacteria or fungus," he said. "They're dyed with a true indigo dye so they'll spider and honeycomb exactly where they're supposed to. The lines that appear are unique to every person's pair of jeans.
"I had a black pair that Adam Levine (of Maroon 5) wore on The Voice. He mentioned that they were Nudie Jeans and I sold out of them the next day. Things like that make a huge difference," Scheer said.
"I experienced the same thing with a pair of red Richer Poorer socks," Scheer added. "I had five pairs of red ones in the store. Justin Timberlake wore the same socks on Jay Leno and mentioned the brand, and we sold out of them by the next day."
It could be argued that many men find fashion a bit intimidating and are just looking for a bit of guidance in the style department. For those customers, The Style Lab offers a style concierge service where for a monthly fee, you can have a personal shopper and home delivery whenever you need it.
"We'll customize outfits and bring them to you. I have some clients who I do that for," Scheer said. "I ran into a client on Brookside the other day and he was wearing something that I'd selected for him and he felt good in it. I love that. I love seeing that."
The stylish Tulsa male is not, in fact, an oxymoron, and any man is capable of finding his own signature look without a lot of expense or expertise.
"My aim with The Style Lab to make more options available locally with an accessible price point to suit a variety of tastes and budgets," said Scheer. "I want to offer trendy urban wear, but also 'old man' clothes -- you know, stuff my dad would wear."
The right style can make the difference in getting that job, that promotion, or that sought-after date. A memorable style is head to toe, hair to shoes. Creating it is worth your effort. We ladies are watching you, fellas, and your effort does not go unnoticed.
Visit nicci6.com or facebook.com/SeekingNicci6 for more topics from Nicci Atchley.
Share this article: