Legendary entertainer Fred Astaire is one of my favorite American style icons, a combination of grace and charm that spoke effortlessly through his unique rendition of ‘prep’. So when Lee Muston of Muston & Co. shared his idea with me, I was as much inspired as intrigued. I asked him to share his take on an updated version of an Astaire signature.
Genteel Flair: Why men’s accessories? What gap did you see in the market?
Lee Muston: I love menswear and wanted to capitalize on another point of self-expression for the men’s wardrobe. You see a million Instagram shots of a guy’s chest with a tie and pocket square so I wanted to create a similar point of self-expression for the waist.
GF: What inspired you to adapt this particular idea?
LM: The idea had been dancing around in my head for awhile. After finding strips of fabric at vintage stores and tying them around my waist as well as seeing certain style influencers wearing ties around their waists I thought to myself, “there has to be an easier way to wear that look”.
Thus, I re-purposed a preppy classic to reflect a more Italian sensibility with fine silks and wools from Italy and England.
GF: Do you see your product as an occasional accent or wardrobe staple?
LM: It could certainly be both depending on the style. I wear my belts everyday and some of the more subtle styles such as the chalk stripes or glen plaids could easily go with anything. But I also find myself wearing the red foulard and yellow paisley just as frequently. It’s pretty easy to get adventurous with a belt without looking too eccentric.
GF: What can you share about future product development?
LM: For the immediate future we’re sourcing new fabrics (which is a never-ending quest) and introducing silver rings. Further down the road we’ll implement buckles, leather tips and more, so stay tuned!
GF: Do you plan to stay online or are there in roads to brick and mortar retail?
LM: Staying online for now – rent’s high in New York!!
My personal style right now I’d call “sprezzy prep gangsta”. I always love my soft shoulder blazers and loud scarves, but lately have gone on a fitted and kicks bender, and anchor it down with simple chinos or jeans and an oxford shirt. And also of course a great looking Muston belt!
Some influencers right now who I think are absolutely killing it are Danilo Carnevale, Justus Hansen, the boys from Sciamat and Minn from HVRMINN.
I feel menswear now more than ever is implementing a sporty element to tailored looks with sneakers, t-shirts, down vests, etc. That mix plays well with our belts as they’re not anchored to being solely dressy or solely casual but ride the line in-between. You can sport them with jeans and a t-shirt just as easily as you can with a suit.
Our Instagram illustrates the range of looks you can wear with a Muston belt.
You can shop some of our favorites here!