Excerpt: 'The Shopping Bags' by Anna Wallner and Kristina Matisic

Find bathing-suit shopping a horrific experience? You're not alone. Try a little cognitive therapy while shopping, and focus on all the positive things you do in life (like donating to charity, taking care of a sick friend, a successful career, and so on).

"Make sure the swimsuit you buy brings out your personality. Whatever you wear should reveal your sense of self." -- Bridget Moynahan, actor and model

Tuxedos

A tuxedo is considered a 10-year investment, so look for something classic. One-button or two-button tuxedo styles are considered the most timeless.

Look for a tux in a lightweight wool or wool blend; you can wear it year-round.

Stocky guys should stay away from double-breasted suits -- they are not as flattering as single-breasted styles. And long jackets are best worn by the tall and lean.

When renting tuxes for a wedding, do so at the end of the calendar year. If prices go up, they generally do so in the new year.

If you're wearing a tux, there's a good chance you'll be dancing. Look for styles that have high armholes so that when you lift your arms, the collar won't gape.

Looking for a deal? Rental shops often sell off their used tuxedos during annual warehouse sales. And ask about wedding specials. Some stores will throw in the rental cost of the groom's tux if you're renting for an entire wedding party and the bride's and groom's fathers.

Umbrellas

Teflon-coated nylon is considered the most waterproof umbrella material. Plastic canopies are more commonly found in kids' umbrellas, and treated cotton can actually retain water and become heavy. (Cotton also takes longer to dry.)

If you want a light umbrella, look for an aluminum or fiberglass frame.

Stick umbrellas are inherently stronger than folding umbrellas.

Check the tips of the umbrella. Look for "machine" tips, which can be pulled on and off the ribs. These tips last longer than ones that are sewn directly onto the ribs.

Auto openers are a great feature for getting under cover quick, but they do add to the cost and weight of the umbrella.

Look for coated ribs. A coating helps guard against rust.

Plastic handles are more likely to crack and break than wood or rubber.

In windy locales, look for two-ply umbrellas. One layer will be part mesh, allowing for wind gusts to pass through.

Look for a spring coil at the top of the shaft, which allows the umbrella to snap back if inverted by wind.

Underwear for Women

Look for 2 to 8 percent Lycra content if you want your bikini underwear to also act as a bit of a tummy minimizer. We like 4 percent Lycra in our thong underwear for optimum comfort and longevity.

Microfiber is a good fabric choice because it's both comfortable and durable.

For everyday use, avoid lace. Lace underwear can be scratchy and can fall apart quickly.

Make sure the back of your thong isn't too wide or thick, which can become uncomfortable. (Yes, comfortable thongs do exist, and we swear by them -- no visible panty lines! After months of testing, we've decided our favorites come from Cosabella.)

Don't assume sizes are consistent from brand to brand. Always try underwear on at the store (over your own, of course) because you can't return undies once you buy them.

Check the seams. The flatter the seams, the less likely they are to show through your clothes.

Consider low-rise underwear that won't creep up past your waistline when you bend over. (Visible G-strings are a fashion faux pas!)

Underwear for Men

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