Reader Inquiry: Stylish Suiting On A Budget

March 24, 2015
Bonobos Newport Launch 4

I recently received an email with a question from a reader asking for a recommendation on purchasing a quality suit on a budget. It’s a dilemma that we have all faced. Whether you wear suits on a daily basis or just need to stock your closet with a few basics to pull out for weddings, job interviews, etc. I have found that there are plenty of options out there for affordable, yet stylish suiting. I don’t wear a suit on a daily basis but I do own a few and have purchased them with affordability and style in mind. I tend to break my suiting pieces up and wear them separately so that I can get the most wear out of the investment of a suit. If you are in the market for a suit that looks great but won’t leave you penniless check out these options below.

J.Crew (Approx. $700)

J.Crew makes amazing suits from high quality fabrics for a pretty decent price. You can walk out of there with an awesome suit for around $700. I have two suits from them. One I purchased for job interviews and the other I wore to my wedding so I have definitely trusted them for important moments in my life.  Plus they honor student discounts if you are a college student which is great if you are purchasing a suit for job interviews.

Bonobos (Approx. $525)

Bonobos recently launched their Jetsetter Suit which is a 4 season suit that is said to bounce back from almost any situation, perfect for guys on the go. Made to fit comfortably but staying on trend with a trim silhouette, the Jetsetter is available in a variety of colors and would make the perfect suit staple for any man’s closet.

Tailor4Less (Starting at $269)

Tailor4Less is a company I collaborated with in the past and they have an awesome concept. You enter your measurements and they essentially build you a custom suit (or shirt) to your specifications. They have over 150 fabrics/colors to choose from and the suits start at $269. Essentially, a custom-fit suit for under $300. I don’t have a suit from them but I do own one of their custom shirts and the fit is amazing so their system definitely works. I would definitely recommend checking them out.

H&M (Approx. $200)

Everyone knows H&M is a great place to shop for on-trend pieces at an affordable price. In recent years they have really dedicated some time and energy to their wear-to-work menswear and have come up with some great pieces. I have tons of work pants from them and they not only fit great but obviously hit at a more affordable price point. And surprisingly, they have lasted me forever. Their price point is definitely within reach of a college student on the cusp of graduating and on the hunt for their first suit for a job interview, but it also allows you to try out a trendier cut/style without investing a ton of money into it.


Thanks to Jackson for emailing me with his question! Hopefully I was able to shine a little light on a dilemma that every guy can relate to. Thanks for following along!

Got your own question? Struggling with something? Let me know and I’ll answer it best I can. Who knows? Maybe your question will end up here on Brick&Vine.


Weekend Web Browsing /07

March 20, 2015


Happy first day of spring everyone! I know most of the country is still pretty chilly and I think the east coast is even being hit with more snow? I don’t know but if you’re snowed in this weekend or just looking for something to occupy your time for a bit this weekend check out my favorite web stories of the week. Have a great weekend everyone!

I’ve always hated breakfast (unless we’re talking chicken fried steak, eggs, bacon, sausage, etc.). But breakfast during the week is just a hassle. Now there is reason to believe that maybe breakfast isn’t the most important meal of the day.

Planning on switching jobs in 2015? You might want to check out the new questions companies are asking potential job candidates.

Esquire compiled a nice list of style hacks. Removing red wine stains with white wine? Well that’s bound to come in handy.

Our new house has 4 orange trees on it but I cannot stand peeling oranges. Such a hassle, am I right? Well the lovely folks at Buzzfeed have provided an easier way to peel an orange and for that we should all be thankful.

I tend to stay up late at night which is when I find all these fun stories, but now there is scientific proof that people who stay up later are more inteligent. Woohoo! But wait, I’m also supposed to get up before 6AM? I’m confused…

Spring is here and that means stripes are going to start popping up everywhere. Looking for a new way to enjoy the spring staple? Check out how to make a bold statement and startcombining stripes ASAP.



How To Renovate A 1950s Kitchen

March 18, 2015
Theodora Kitchen 1

My wife and I recently completed the renovation of our first home and are in the process of decorating and learning how having a house is completely different from renting.  Aside for two poorly updated bathrooms, the entire house was original to the 1950s. The kitchen was a cramped, dark space that was cut off from the rest of the house and had a mudroom that took up way too much valuable square footage. Here’s what our kitchen looked like before:

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My wife and I knew exactly what we had in mind for our dream kitchen… all those hours on Pinterest pays off kids! We wanted something light, bright, and something that would stand the test of time. We decided to go with white cabinets that had a little more detail than your average shaker style cabinet but not too much so that they would look outdated a year after we finished.

Theodora Kitchen 11

The rest of the house had original hardwood floor so we ripped out the brown linoleum that was there and carried the hardwoods into the kitchen. we took the wall out between the entry and the kitchen so that we could get this amazing breakfast bar and open up the space to the rest of the living area.

Theodora Kitchen 1

We went with a bay-style window behind the sink which paid off big time. Not only do we get a ton of light streaming through it, but we gained a few extra feet of counter space which allows for some close-at-hand herbs. Those few extra feet behind the sink make the entire room feel larger–it’s crazy the tricks your mind falls for.

Theodora Kitchen 2

We knew we wanted to go with white subway tiles–they are just so classic and bring a charming elegance to any space. Instead of doing a plain white grout or going dramatic with a black grout we opted for somewhere in the middle and it adds a little interest but doesn’t take away from the rest of the kitchen. It’s a decent size kitchen but we didn’t want any one element to overpower the others.

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We love the look of spaces that incorporate carrara marble but we wanted something that didn’t require as much maintenance so we opted for this harder, less porous white damasco marble that helped us achieve a similar look and we love the way it turned out. It actually has a lot more depth and variation of colors in it which creates a more interesting space. Theodora Kitchen 5 Theodora Kitchen 6

The thing that ties the entire kitchen together is the addition of these sleek black cabinet pulls. I love that we went with a more dramatic length and the black is a stark contrast to the rest of the kitchen and pulls out the darker veins in the countertops. Below is one of my favorite details in the kitchen–I love this pantry wall with its different size cabinets and small bank of drawers. And I think our decision to go with pulls on both cabinets and drawers paid off big time. I love the consistent look. Theodora Kitchen 7 Theodora Kitchen 8 Theodora Kitchen 9

After creating such a clean space we just had to inject a little of our own personality into the space. We added the West Elm glass pendant over the sink and love the warm glow it provides at night. Theodora Kitchen 10

Cabinets | Cabinet Hardware (c/o Hickory Hardware) | Marble Countertop | Appliances | Bar Stools | Pendant | Decorative Plates


How To Step Up Your Office Style

March 17, 2015
Bonobos Launch Look 3

I recently wore this look to the launch of the Bonobos Guideshop here in Orange County and I loved how taking a basic outfit that I wore to work and adding the varsity jacket took the look to a different level. The jacket is the perfect layer to give a boring office outfit some much-needed personality.

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Bonobos Launch Look 3

Having an office job, it is sometimes difficult bringing your personal style into the workplace. If you’ve been struggling with how to mix it up when it comes to work looks try something similar. Take a varsity jacket or leather bomber and create your own take on an unconventional suit. Or, my personal favorite, add a shawl-collar cardigan to the rotation. Either way, make sure to keep some elevated elements like a tie and tie clip or a nice dress shoe. But when it comes to some of the other pieces, feel free to get a little creative. Mix some bold patterns, wear a bright color, or take some of these layering ideas and step up your office style.

Got your own wear-to-work tips? Share them below!

Varsity Jacket | Banana Republic Shirt  | H&M Pants | Ulterior Motive Tie | J.Crew Tie Bar | Jack Spade Watch | Cole Haan Boots


Bonobos Launches New Guideshop in Newport Beach, CA

March 15, 2015
Bonobos Newport Launch 3

Shopping online has become almost second nature in this day and age; I don’t even have to get out of bed to spend hundreds of dollars anymore. It’s downright dangerous really… While online shopping is great and coming home after a long day at work to a package on your doorstep may be one of life’s greatest joys, you soon learn after the nineteenth time of ordering the wrong size in an item or realizing that what you thought was a soft blue shirt is actually neon blue and now you look like a bag of cotton candy that there are still benefits to being able to go into a store and check out an item prior to purchasing. And that gentlemen is where the Bonobos Guideshop comes in.


Bonobos, the largest clothing brand ever born on the web in the U.S., has strategically launched guideshops throughout the country to give guys the chance to get personally fit by one of their Bonobos Guides and give you the chance to touch and feel all of their items in an actual store. You go in, try some things on, nail down your fit and then you can order all the items your heart desires. Within 2-5 days you have a nice box sitting at your door with all of your brand new items and you get the best of both worlds: the joy of receiving a piece of mail that isn’t a bill or a real estate flyer with the relief of knowing that all of the items inside will fit and can go straight into your closet.

Bonobos Newport Launch 1

Last week I went to the launch of Bonobos’ latest guideshop in Newport Beach’s Fashion Island and it is definitely worth stopping in. Go check it out and meet some of their friendly style guides and check out some of their amazing stuff. I have always loved how Bonobos mixes classic almost preppy basics with vibrant pops of on-trend prints and styles. I left wanting to sell everything in my closet and fill it with brand new Bonobos pieces. It was quite upsetting. I would definitely recommend seeing if there is a local Bonobos guideshop in your area because their product is awesome and they way they do business is perfect for any guy who doesn’t want to spend hours shopping and just wants to find a reliable retailer to refresh their wardrobe every so often.

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Find out if you have a Bonobos Guideshop in your area here.


#PoweredbyRockport & Perfect Springtime Layering

March 11, 2015
Rockport Shoes Denim Jacket 7

Rockport Shoes Denim Jacket 6Rockport Shoes Denim Jacket 7Rockport Shoes Denim Jacket 2Rockport Shoes Denim Jacket 4Rockport Shoes Denim Jacket 1 Rockport Shoes Denim Jacket 3Rockport Shoes Denim Jacket 5Rockport Shoes Denim Jacket 8

Hundreds of readers & Instagram followers voted last week and this look was my winning #PoweredbyRockport look chosen by you guys. While I was pretty excited that the casual look won, I still wore the dressier outfit to my sister-in-law’s wedding this past weekend. I danced for hours in these Rockports and I think I was the only one not complaining about my feet at the end of the night. They performed just as well running around Old Town on Sunday doing some thrift and antique shopping. Best part about these shoes? They are so flexible that it feels like you’ve got clouds on your feet. No joke! I paired them with these awesome anchor socks and my favorite denim jacket, just the perfect amount of layering for spring. I love this look and am excited to continue to find new ways to rock my Rockports.

Want your own pair of Rockports? Get 20% off your next Rockport purchase by using code BRICKANDVINE20 now through April 30th.

*Offer not valid on clearance items. Cannot be combined with other product promotions. Offer not valid on prior purchases or gift cards. For online purchase, enter code at checkout. ©2015 The Rockport Company, LLC. Rockport®.

SHOP THE LOOK: Shoes | c/o Rockport // Socks | c/o // Pants | J.Crew // Henley | J.Crew // Denim Jacket | J.Crew // Watch | Asos // Sunglasses | Ray-Ban


Vote On Which #PoweredbyRockport Look I Should Wear

March 2, 2015
Rockport Casual Look

If you’ve ever wanted to tell me what to wear, now is your chance! I’ve built two outfit options around these awesome Rockport plain toe oxfords and you have the chance to tell me which one I should wear. Check out the two looks below and how I’d plan on wearing them and then vote in the poll at the bottom. Most votes wins!

Casual Comfort

I’d wear this look running around town getting things done. My wife and I have been frequenting a lot of the local antique stores trying to furnish our home and this is definitely a look I’d be able to find our next great piece.

Rockport Casual Look

Dressed Up & Ready To Dance

My sister-in-law is getting married this weekend (congrats!) so these Rockports pair perfectly with this dressier look I was planning on wearing to the wedding. Love how the shoes coordinate with that tie!

Rockport Dressy Look

Which #PoweredbyRockport look should I wear?

View Results

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Home Reno: Small Bathroom

February 28, 2015
Mel's Bathroom 1

Back in July my wife and I purchased our first home and ever since we have been renovating. It started as a simple update to some outdated items. It was a house built in the fifties and nothing had been updated (except for some pretty sad updates in the bathrooms). Over time we ended up having to update almost every inch due to outdated electrical and plumbing and it just being an old home. Seven months later and we are finally move in and are thrilled with the way it turned out. It took longer than expected but we couldn’t be happier with the result. We’ll slowly be sharing all of the updates we made to our home in the hopes that we can help shine a little light on the process whether you’re contemplating a similar scenario or just looking for some stylish decorating tips.

First up is my wife’s bathroom… the house has two bathrooms so my wife and I each took on one to disperse the workload. Her’s turned out gorgeous! Favorite part? It’s a tie between the amazing hand-painted tile rug (surrounded by classic penny tiles) and the light-reflecting crystal knobs we received from Hickory Hardware. Read her entire post and check out more pics over on her blog, Top It Off. A preview is below:



Mel's Bathroom 4

SHOP THE ROOM: Knobs c/o Hickory Hardware // WestElm Shower Curtain // Home Depot Mirror



What Can I Say? I’m A Freak For Socks

February 25, 2015
Ties Mustache Socks 1

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Anyone who knows me knows I’m a freak for socks. Sometimes they can carry all of the weight in giving your look a punch of personality. These socks from are no exception. First off, the colors are a combination after my own heart; black and brown together is like my peanut butter and jelly. It’s my go to color combo. Speaking of which, I recently had a peanut and butter and jelly sandwich and it was just as good as when I was in elementary school. If you were ever a PB&J fan you should definitely take a trip down memory lane and whip one up. But I digress… The other thing that these socks have going for them is the obvious use of the mustache. If that doesn’t make anyone who sneaks a peek at your ankles smile, I don’t know what will. I based the rest of my look off of these puppies and kept with the black and brown color scheme and it was anything but dull and while I’d like to think it was my styling abilities, I can’t help but think it has something to do with these awesome socks.

SHOP THE LOOK: Shirt | J.Crew // Jeans | J.Crew // Socks | c/o // Boots | Cole Haan // Sunglasses | Ray-Ban // Watch | Jack Spade


Thinking Back on Snowier Times

February 18, 2015

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It’s so warm here on the west coast that I thought a nice retrospective on my recent trip to Rhode Island would be a nice way to cool down. I have to say that it worked… I’m feeling cooler already. In all seriousness though, I know that much of the country is struggling to stay above the snow and for that I am sympathetic but what you have to understand is that I love cooler weather. I love the cold, the snowy weather and getting to wear winter clothing and living in Southern California doesn’t always cooperate. So when I see snow I load up on layers, throw on my fairisle, stock up on scarves, pull out anything lined with fur or down and I have an instant smile on my face. This fairisle, shawl-collar sweater was the perfect way to stay warm while traipsing around in the snow and while these Cole Haan boots weren’t quiet up for the challenge of 3 feet of snow, they sure do look good don’t they?

So I know that the last thing that most of you wanted to see was another picture with snow or a sweater and you may already have moved on to planning for spring but for now just humor me. Soon all you’ll be seeing are shorts and tee shirts and you’ll think back and wish for snowier times.

SHOP THE LOOK: Sweater | Old Navy (Similar) // Jeans | Levis // Boots | Cole Haan // Sweatshirt | J.Crew (Similar) // Watch | Timex // Sunglasses | Ray-Ban

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