Bikini Horrors and The Miraclesuit

miraclesuit review

Before I went on holiday (yes, the holiday post is coming up, I’m still recovering from the night-flight-with-toddler-and-baby) I bought a load of bikinis and swimming costumes from Figleaves so that I could try them on in the relative comfort of my own home.

say relative comfort, but the fact is I’d have been more comfortable trying on swimwear standing on the central reservation of the M4, because I had a constant running commentary from Angelica (aged 2) about the parts of my body she doesn’t see very often (“bum bum Mummy!”) and also a stream of interruptions from various people ringing the doorbell, including the postman who engaged me in a three minute chat despite the fact I was quite clearly busy.

(He thinks I’m mad, by the way. Completely bonkers. Sometimes I answer the door wearing a full face of makeup and huge hair, dressed fashionably from the waist up but in tracksuit bottoms or pyjamas from the waist down. At other times, I’m still in my dressing gown at 11am with a disposable shower cap on and eight different foundations patched over my face, or an array of lipstick swatches covering the entire length of my arm.)

Anyway, I felt dreadful in most of the bikinis. I know I should be embracing my new figure and being positive about the miraculous things it has done – highlights include digesting half a kilo of burrata in one session (June 2014), surviving a particularly raucous twenty-four hours in Ibiza (July 2012) and enduring a particularly savage hair-removing session at the end of last year – but I simply can’t love my stomach. It’s like a lumpy flesh omelette. And I feel I can say that without being “hard on myself” because it’s not even childbearing that’s really made it that way, it’s my penchant for choc ices and Coca Cola (full sugar) and Haribo sweets and cheese and onion quiche.

I’m sorting it out. Starting next week.

So the bikinis were flung angrily into the far corners of the bedroom whilst Ted marched in and out of the door playing a plastic recorder – the monotone hooting providing a sort of depressing soundtrack to my trying-on experience. But then, a eureka moment as I squeezed my lumpy torso into something called a Miraclesuit. Bloody hell, I inwardly guffawed, the miracle will be if I manage to get it on without dislocating something! But get it on I did, once I upgraded from the UK size 10 to the UK size 12 – it slipped on relatively easily. Which is possibly slightly missing the point of a waist-shaping, tummy-controlling swimsuit, which is supposed to be tight to push everything about, but I just couldn’t bear the squeezing sensation of the smaller one. It was like being slowly devoured by a reticulated python.

miraclesuit review

Anyway, the size 12 gave me a good level of support around the middle, holding everything in and smoothing out the lumps so that I looked like a slightly more athletic version of myself. I was very pleasantly surprised when I looked in the mirror; the swimsuit was cut low on the chest, which made my boobs look good (there was quite a bit of support for those, too) and there were cleverly-placed stripes which formed a kind of optical illusion, making my waist look smaller than it actually was.

miraclesuit review

So yes, the Miraclesuit was a great success on holiday. I wore it to the beach, I wore it beside the pool, I threw dresses over the top and wore it with shorts and no other top, which is about as daring as I get these days. (I did wear a mid-thigh-length dress on holiday, but totally forgot the Rules of Shortish Dresses and ended up flashing my unattractive knickers when I bent over to fix the strap on my sandal. Oh, the shame, the shame.)

Now I just have to resist the temptation to buy a load of different Miraclesuit styles – I tend to do that, when I find an item of clothing I love. Jeans that fit perfectly will be snapped up in three different washes as well as some sort of novelty seasonal shade (that will never see the light of day), t-shirts made from the softest jersey are bought by the half dozen, the ultimate “throw it on” dress, if it proves to be a good buy, will inevitably be re-purchased in all available colours and prints. If I think I’m on to a good thing, I bulk buy it with an almost religious fervour.


I won’t be doing this with the Miraclesuit – at least not yet. Simply because I don’t go on holiday enough to warrant having more than one. I don’t even go swimming. I’m far too lazy for that and I have a phobia of damp changing room floors and lockers that have keys that you have to safety pin to your person. No ta.

But one? Yes. One Miraclesuit is a must. A holiday wardrobe staple for anyone who would like a slightly stealthier silhouette, who isn’t keen on letting the midriff hang free if they’re going to be bending over to pick up kids’ toys from the sand every three seconds, who would like just a bit more support in the middle area. A firm, reassuring pressure that makes you stand straighter and hold your shoulders back and a curve-forming design that has you doing a little double-take when you catch a glimpse of yourself in the beach bar window.

vichy ideal tan solar water

The Miraclesuit is here* at Figleaves. They have lots of different styles at slightly different prices – they are more expensive than the other control swimsuits I tried (the Spectra style I’m wearing is £130) but the quality was incomparable. Really robust all over and fully lined and with a well-considered cut that was properly flattering. Definitely worth a try if you’re looking for summertime swimwear – let me know how you get on. And, as always, leave your own tried and tested recommendations below – I know a few of you love M&S swimwear but are there any other brands you’d really rate?

© 2018 A Model Recommends®: all opinions are my own and any sponsored or paid posts will always be clearly marked as an AD in the title. I accept press samples and receive product and services to review as part of my job. *Outbound links are affiliate links, which means that I receive a very small percentage of any sale made. This does not affect my content in any way and does not cost you anything, but you are most welcome to Google the products on a new page if you prefer. Please see here for full "about" section and disclaimer. A Model Recommends and Ruth Crilly are registered trademarks.



  1. Sara
    May 16, 2018 / 10:21 pm

    Strange coincidence- I was looking at these suits earlier as I remembered them from a tv make over show or magazine article. Not sure if they are much good for ‘the bigger bosom’ – anyone know? It spoils the tummy squeezing effect if I have to go up 2 sizes for reasonable cover up top…

  2. May 16, 2018 / 11:50 pm

    I’ve always loved J Crew and Athleta for swimwear. Actually all 4 suits I have are those brands (mix of tops, bottoms and one pieces). While I’m quite thin, and I like to pretend I’m so comfortable with the bikini, I inevitably toss a sun shirt on top. I have teenagers, I simply feel like I’m too old to be in a bikini (I’m 40 )

  3. May 17, 2018 / 7:57 am

    I love that it looks quite chic !
    Haha for the postman story it is way too funny !

  4. Melanie Woodward
    May 17, 2018 / 8:49 am

    Hi Ruth – love your blog. My 50 year old bod has been trashed by 30+ years sitting on my arse in an office, as well as investing in my “wine baby” and enjoying a damn good meal. The one great thing about getting older I have personally found is, a better acceptance of myself & giving much less of a cr*p about other people’s scrutiny – so whilst I’ll happily wear a bikini when on a far flung holiday – if I’m closer to home, a good swimsuit is a more comfortable solution. Spent ages trying to find one that made me feel good & glamorous and was comfortable. I strongly recommend Boden’s “Rhodes” swimsuit.

    • May 17, 2018 / 10:36 am

      Wine Baby!!!!!! Best comment of the year! Hahaha. xx

  5. Kirsten Stewart
    May 17, 2018 / 8:56 am

    I LOVE Figleaves swinwear – I’m a 34F and their underwired, non-padded swimsuits and bikinis are second to none. Panache are also really good! I think you look fab :)

  6. H
    May 17, 2018 / 9:32 am

    Eugh , totally with you on the damp changing room floors. Throw in a rogue wet hair and I nope the hell outta there!

    • Jo.C
      May 17, 2018 / 9:58 pm

      The rogue wet hair gets me everytime too {heaves} lol

  7. jess
    May 17, 2018 / 9:43 am

    ruth this story really brightened up my morning. a lot of giggles and you look fab!

  8. May 17, 2018 / 10:54 am

    You look fantastic. Very svelte. I bought a Figleaves own brand swimsuit after baby #1 and was delighted with it. £45, amazing quality and so flattering.

  9. Rach
    May 17, 2018 / 11:57 am

    I am always entertained by your posts Ruth and you look amazing! A great Australian swimwear brand is Jets; I love the one pieces but they have a great range for all body types. They suck everything in well and are super flattering.
    PS love your house and Barry looks perfect in your garden. Love your blog!

  10. May 17, 2018 / 1:19 pm

    I still wear bikinis, mostly because I already had two and didn´t want them to be left unused, but the other reason is that I have started wearing SPF shirts on top anyway, who, in their neon orangeness and boxy shape, destroy any kind of silhouette anyway.

  11. Jodie
    May 17, 2018 / 1:41 pm

    you look gorgeous Ruth, thanks for posting real photos x

  12. Abigail
    May 17, 2018 / 1:43 pm

    My mum (two babies) and I (inability to make a tube of Pringles last more than one sitting) both love the Boden Santorini swimsuits! Can be a nightmare to get off when they’re wet but totally worth it and a comfortable amount of belly sucking in without reducing lung capacity!

  13. Tara
    May 17, 2018 / 3:59 pm

    You look fabulous and you made me laugh out loud multiple times! Cheers!

  14. Kat
    May 17, 2018 / 7:32 pm

    For those with a larger bust the Bravissimo AMALFI SWIMSUIT is great! It’s so faltering and has the cups sewn in so you look very thin round your rib cage and then it has tummy control to hold in the rest. They have it in a lot more colours this year and there are a couple of slightly different styles. It’s easily the most flattering swimming costume I’ve ever owned. It’s just too bad that they don’t do a maternity one as I now barely fit in the one I bought last year.

  15. Nancy
    May 17, 2018 / 9:18 pm

    I absolutely love the quality of your writing. You obviously really take the time to consider the structure and vocabulary of your posts and they are a pleasure to read. Love hearing about your adventures!

  16. Ana Gomes-Salleh
    May 17, 2018 / 9:32 pm

    You look amazing and always make me giggle! I sneak a little read of your blog posts at my desk at work when I’m meant to be slaving away…. I’m sure it hasn’t gone unnoticed, but to be fair not really too fussed! Anyway, I also recommend the figleaves own brand, very supportive and really suck your tummy in. I always check the sales as they are usually on offer too. xx

  17. Ros H
    May 17, 2018 / 9:43 pm

    Hi Ruth -in your instagram post which prompted me to read your blog you mentioned Vichy SPF? Could you say a little more about which one it was -I’m looking for a good body sunscreen that’s easy to apply & not sticky. Love the swimsuit – looking fab!

    • May 17, 2018 / 10:23 pm

      Post is up here, click back a few pages xx

  18. Trimperley
    May 17, 2018 / 10:02 pm

    I wear plus sizes and like JD Williams swimwear. Because its a catalogue type website its easy to order a range of sizes on account and send back what doesn’t fit or flatter. A holiday treat is doing butterfly down the middle of an empty pool first thing in the morning, the more splashes the better, and find the The Beach to Beach or Magisculpt sports swim suits are up to the challenge.

  19. Lizzie
    May 17, 2018 / 11:02 pm

    Thank you for your honesty as always. I also have two kids and have followed you since neither of us had any. (Not literally following you I promise, that would be a long time to be hiding behind bushes and peeping through bushes) I still vant get over the dissappointment that i have lost my flat stomach. Like you it is not so much to do with the pregnancies as the amount of buiscuits I eat. I eat so many buiscuits because I have two kids and no time for sleep and therefore no energy and it seems like the only way to get to the end of the day.
    Maybe one day we will both get our work/life/child balance in a place that allows us to find our abs?

  20. Julie
    May 17, 2018 / 11:25 pm

    Figleaves own brand ones here too. I wore it when I went swimming 4 weeks after I had my second baby and when my friend saw me in it she said ‘you’re losing weight too fast!’. I assure you I was not and still had a big belly but it was very well sucked in by the cossie. Not the coolest designs in the world but they do the trick for an ok price.

  21. M
    May 17, 2018 / 11:39 pm

    can you let me where I can get your hat please love it

  22. Maayan
    May 18, 2018 / 4:12 am

    I love Esther Williams one piece retro styles! I have always had a tummy and I find them really flattering

  23. Kate Spanier
    May 18, 2018 / 11:30 am

    In the ocean of mediocre bloggers your posts truly are a comic breath of fresh air.

    I chortled heartily at the Postman story, I have a similar situation with the Parcelforce man. I swear I know more about his life than I do some of my closer friends.

  24. May 20, 2018 / 2:15 pm

    Another vote here for good quality retro style suits. Much more forgiving and flatter pretty much all sizes and shapes. Bettylicious UK have a great selection and very reasonable prices.

  25. Ko Patel
    May 20, 2018 / 3:18 pm

    Hi Ruth,
    Lovely swimsuit, just what I need for upcoming holiday.
    PS: we stayed at the Dones of Elounda too….I’d recognise that pool anywhere!
    Ko x

  26. Hel
    May 20, 2018 / 3:31 pm

    I’ve just ordered the pretty black and green one based on your rec Ruth! I’m of to Hong Kong at the end of the month to catch up with child free pals and hoping this hides the 3 baby bloat!

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