I wear both silicone & latex caps, whatever is handy at the moment. Like you I have fine hair & need to keep all of it that I can (stress is a bitch). I always try to wet my hair with fresh water (non-chlorinated) before swimming. I'm pretty much psycho when it comes to keeping my hair healthy & as damage-free as possible. I usually swim 5-6x/wk! So I almost always shampoo (ultraswim or triswim - LOVE the triswim line) as soon as I get out of the pool.
I'm laughing because I always giggle at watching our age-groupers try to get their caps on - the little kids often have moms or swim coaches helping, or come in from home already capped up. I'm sitting here actually thinking about how to put a cap on & I have NO IDEA...I had to grab one here sitting near my desk & put it on to remember! I guess I've just done it for so long that it's automatic...I usually start with one hand in front & one in back, hold the front near where it's supposed to be & just pull it over my head. My hair is now fairly short (again, worried about any additional breakage) so I have all sorts of tucking & smooshing the ends up under the cap. Unless I'm racing or in cold water, I leave most of my ears out & only pull it barely down on my forehead. Racing the cap gets pull down over the tops of my goggles & in cold water I try to cover my ears as much as possible.
I'm an oddity in that I love swede goggles AND speedo vanquishers & the TYR equivalent. I rotate through whatever hits my hand first in my bag or whatever I feel like that day. Open water is almost always a dark tint & mirrored. If there's contact possible/probable I will wear the vanquishers - the last thing I need is a chipped orbital bone.
Suits - gah...I struggle with this. I keep a rotation in the mix at all times, almost all poly, but varying cuts. I'm more a fan of the higher cut leg & the lower cut back with minimal straps simply because I have the torso of a toddler & anything with "ample back coverage" comes up - nearly to my bra line. I'm ok with showing some skin, I don't care if I don't have the rocking body of some...I'm more comfortable. And when it's open water or an outdoor pool, I go for as little coverage as possible both for tanline & algae allergy issues...
Great job on getting more into it. Doing drills like you described are HUGE helps. Tiring & frustrating yes, but you'll notice quick improvements!!
Keep blowing bubbles...