Jeanius way to drop a dress size: As M&S Magic Jeans sell out, which slimming denim gives you the best shape?

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  • Fashion’s latest fixation is the stretchy jeans that mince a muffin top
  • Marks & Spencer has sold over two million pairs of jeans in the past six months
  • A size 16 model compares her measurements in normal jeans to a slimming pair

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Shapewear and I have endured a toxic and co-dependent relationship for almost 20 years.

We break up, I swear it’s over and then, weeks later, a special occasion arrives and I run back, sucked in by a raised bottom, flattened belly, and promises to drop a dress size.

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These days, the sizes aren’t limited to what we wear under our clothes. Latest fashion fix? Stretchy jeans that promise to make the muffin top mince.

During the lockdown, we all happily ditch our jeans at the back of the wardrobe in favor of blissfully comfortable loungewear.

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Contour jeans, £25, F&F next.co.uk . Feather Stretch denim with a mid-rise fit. Model Eleanor says: ‘Denim feels cheap and scratchy, and they flatten my bum instead of lift

Bum Sculpt Skinny Jeans, £46, riverisland.com Innovative stretch denim that sculpts.  Eleanor says: 'I usually avoid thin profiles but these flatter me.'

Bomb Sculpt Skinny Jeans, £46, Riverisland.com Innovative stretch denim that builds. Eleanor says: ‘I usually avoid thin profiles but these flatter me.’

High Rise Sculpt True Skinny Jeans, £54.95, gap.co.uk Stretch denim cut to sit above the hips.  Eleanor says: 'The jeans are comfortable and slimmed my waist right down.'

High Rise Sculpt True Skinny Jeans, £54.95, gap.co.uk Stretch denim cut to sit over the hips. Eleanor says: ‘The jeans are comfortable and slimmed my waist right down.’

But now, as life returns to normal, we’re dusting them off and – if you’re anything like me – don’t find our old ones fit anymore.

No wonder Marks & Spencer has seen a boom in jeans sales.

The retailer has sold more than two million pairs in the past six months, with Magic Shaping Jeans selling online and in store. These resolve to lift the bottoms and thin the spare tyres.

The problem I have with shapewear is that the flab doesn’t disappear—it has to go somewhere. In my experience, squeezing it in one place usually causes it to reappear in another.

Anyone who has tried blowing air out of a blow-up mattress knows what I mean. Even if it knocks off a few inches and gives you a slimmer silhouette, you can’t go anywhere, because shapewear is so tight that you walk like a zombie and it’s impossible to sit.

High Waisted Lift & Sculpt Skinny Jeans, from £75, landsend.co.uk Stretch denim with a 'no gap' waist.  Eleanor says: 'These gave me a great part bottom.'

High Waist Lift & Sculpt Skinny Jeans, from £75, landsend.co.uk Stretch denim with ‘no gap’ waist. Eleanor says: ‘These gave me a great part bottom.’

But perhaps the latest models have got a little more ‘give’ to accommodate the wobbling bits?

We decided to test them out—trying on all the jeans on a size 16 model.

We measured her waist in normal jeans — 38.5 inches — then compared it to the measurements of each slimming pair.

And what about comfort? When I put the £39.50 M&S Magic Shaping Straight Leg Jeans (third from right) in a size 16, they look so small I have to double-check the label.

No matter the magic, it will certainly take witchcraft to squeeze these into.

Flared jeans, £130, next.co.uk The Gut Check Panel targets the abs.  Eleanor says: 'They definitely suck you up, but you can't sit comfortably in them for long, let alone eating!

Flared jeans, £130, next.co.uk The Gut Check Panel targets the stomach. Eleanor says: ‘They definitely suck you up, but you can’t sit comfortably in them for long, let alone eating!

Marks & Spencer told me that the jeans are made using “slick techniques” and “shaping darts,” but, to be honest, it’s just super-stretchy fabric.

By some miracle, they fit. They’re soft, comfortable and my sloping bottom looks lifted and up.

And, while the waistband is high on Simon Cowell, it made my tummy go down quite a bit.

They also pass the sitting down test easily. I’m sure the flab will pop off the top but it stays in place well.

Magic Shaping Straight Leg Jeans, £39.50, marksandspenser.com Shaping darts provide an extra lift.  Eleanor says: 'My favourite!  They slim my figure nicely.

Magic Shaping Straight Leg Jeans, £39.50, marksandspenser.com Shaping darts provide an extra lift. Eleanor says: ‘My favourite! They slim my figure nicely.

Florence Skinny Mid Rise Instasculpt Jeans, £184, Iris Fashion.co.uk Sustainable Contouring Jeans.  Eleanor says: 'These are soft and give you a nice shape for hourglasses.'

Florence Skinny Mid Rise Instasculpt Jeans, £184, Iris Fashion.co.uk Sustainable contouring jeans. Eleanor says: ‘These are soft and give you a nice shape for hourglasses.’

It’s a different story when I try other size 16 jeans. The £130 pair made by Spanx, the trailblazer of the shapewear world (fourth from right), may have a delightful-feeling gut check panel, but they’re so tight and thin it’s like wearing denim tights. The more affordable F&F Contour jeans (far left), costing £25, are so high-waisted that they literally sit under my armpits, even though they slim my thighs.

Gap is now online only, with jeans making up a big part of its business. I try on a pair of its Sculpt jeans for £54.95 (3rd from left). They have ‘hidden hold-you-in front pockets to help give you a sleek, sleek look all day long’.

However, I rejoice when a size 16 is too baggy for me. For a brief moment I wonder if M&S jeans pushed my fat so far that it disappeared forever. It would really be magic.

Rocket Galaxy jeans, £260, irisfashion.co.uk Uses a sculptural knitting technique.  Eleanor says: 'These are too tight.  I too would never pay that much for jeans.'

Rocket Galaxy jeans, £260, irisfashion.co.uk Uses a sculptural weaving technique. Eleanor says: ‘These are too tight. I too would never pay that much for jeans.’

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