How to buy that perfect little something sexy

You're thinking of ways to spice up your love life, and suddenly you're struck with an idea: a sexy little gift for your significant other. Full of hopes and dreams, you head to the lingerie store. But when you step foot in the door, you're completely overwhelmed. Bras and panties as far as the eye can see. Garters, stockings and ... costumes? Oh my.

Never fear, lingerie newbie - this guide will help you navigate the wonderful and lacy world of unmentionables.

Know your options
Instead of spending an obscene amount of your time wading through the piles of lacy, silky items at the store, first figure out what it is that you want to buy. "It's always easier if you can go into a store knowing what you want," advised Jess Snow, a former lingerie saleswoman. "It makes the job of helping you a whole lot easier."

Lingerie can be broken down into three basic groups:

Babydolls, Merrywidows & Bustiers: Featuring straps, full support and more coverage, any of these options are a great choice if your partner is slightly more modest. Most of these items will cost you around $50.

Bra and Panty Sets: Fun and flirty with the ability to mix it up a bit, a fancy bra and panty set is a good choice if your partner isn't into, or has never tried, wearing anything overtly sexy in bed. With such a wide variety of bras and panties available to choose from, the average cost can range anywhere from $30 for something simple to $100 for the more luxurious sets.

Costume Lingerie: Buxom maid, lustful schoolgirl, kinky dominatrix — these are personas that ooze sexuality. If your partner is confident (willing to reveal a lot of skin), these are a fantastic choice. These will cost you a little more though, with an average price falling into the $75 range.

Know the right size
Now that you have some idea of what kind of lingerie you need, the next crucial step is finding out the right size to buy.

You might be brave enough to outright ask your partner her size, but this can be dangerous. Some people aren't comfortable enough to share that kind of thing, even with their partners. If that's the case for you, try sneaking a peek at the tags on some of the things your significant other already owns. Even if you don't know what 36C means, the salesperson will.

It is very important to know (or at least have some idea) of your partner's size before buying anything for her, Snow warned. "There have been so many guys who try to guess what size their girlfriend is, and then, when they give her something that is nowhere close to her actual size, she freaks out. I've had men come back the next day to return something and tell me they got an earful for not knowing the right size."

Message received. Don't mess around: figure out the right size.

Buy something that suits them
Even though the lingerie is for both of you, your significant other wears it while you get to look at it, so don't be selfish. While it's perfectly acceptable to buy something a little sexier than normal for your sweetie, don't buy something she'll be uncomfortable wearing, even if it really turns you on.

"If you're girlfriend's underwear drawer is full of plain cotton bras and modest panties, it's not a good idea to buy her a leather dominatrix outfit," explained Snow. "She has to feel sexy and comfortable in it, otherwise it will suck for both of you. All the sexiness will be gone."

So now you know how to buy lingerie, go ahead, buy something sexy, and have a great time in bed tonight!