My dad has used a shaving brush and mug filled with a bar of shaving soap as long as I can remember. Until recently (when I got him a new one), he had a white mug with a handle and the red "Old Spice" logo on it. He used a badger hair brush with an ivory colored handle that would stand on end when not in use. He used a Gillette razor, but my grandfather used a "safety razor" with disposable blades. This is called the traditional wet shave.
There is a growing movement to return to this classic style for a number of reasons. It makes shaving more of a ritual and art, instead of being just a means to an end. There was a time when women would hang out at the beauty parlor and chat for hours, while men would go to the barber shop for their male bonding ritual. At "How to Shave Like Your Grandpa: The Art of Manliness" they list several good reasons to go back to (or stick with) the traditional wet shave: it's less expensive, has less environmental impact, you get a closer shave, and you feel like a bad-ass.
I, myself, have gone to using a safety razor to shave my legs because I was tired of paying ridiculous prices for the disposable razor blades. I bought a pack of 100 safety razor blades for $10 (on Ebay). I think they will last me at least another year at the rate I'm going. It did take some time to refine the small-motor skill needed to not cut my shin, but I totally have the hang of it now. Did you know, by the way, that the "Gillette Model" in business is when a company sells part of its product (in this case the razor handle) for virtually nothing, knowing that the customer will have to come back for the refills (disposable razor blades) in order to use it and that's where they will make all the profit. It makes good sense for Gillette, but it ticks me off.
I went to ClassicShaving.com to find brushes for both my dad and my husband. They have a great selection of beautiful badger hair brushes that cost between $8.00 and $380.00. That's a huge range in price, of course, and I'm not sure exactly what more you're getting at the top end. The one I bought for my husband was $49.00 and he likes it very much.
All of this led me to the conclusion that I should come up with my own special shaving soap, so I that's what I did. After doing lots of research on ingredients I decided to use green tea (rather than plain water) because of its powerful anti-oxidants, vitamin E oil because of its skin healing properties, bentonite clay to improve razor glide, and shea butter for moisturizing. I then tried to come up with a fresh, manly scent that would be cat nip to the ladies... and I got Smooth Shave Soap. I just made a new soap (premiering soon) that contains beer, which is great at producing a stable, creamy lather in soap. I think that will be a great shaving soap too. I'll keep you posted!