When M&S Magic Jeans sell out, which slimming denim will give you the best shape?

Shapewear and I have endured a toxic and interdependent relationship for nearly 20 years.

We break up, I swear it’s over and then, weeks later, a special occasion comes and I run back, sucked in by promises of a lifted bum, a flat stomach and a dress size drop.

Nowadays shapewear is also not limited to what we wear under our clothes. The latest fashion fix? Stretchy jeans that promise to make mincemeat out of a muffin top.

During the lockdown we all happily threw our jeans in the back of the closet in favor of wonderfully comfortable loungewear.

Contour jeans, £25, F&F at next.co.uk Stretch denim with a mid-rise fit. MODEL ELEANOR says: ‘The denim feels cheap and scratchy, and they flatten my bum instead of lifting it up

Bum Sculpt Skinny jeans, £46, riverisland.com Innovative stretch denim that gives shape.  ELENAOR says: ¿I normally avoid the skinny profile, but these flattered me.¿

Bum Sculpt Skinny Jeans, £46, riverisland.com Innovative stretch denim that gives shape. ELENAOR says: ‘I normally avoid the skinny profile, but this flattered me.’

High Rise Sculpt True Skinny Jeans, £54.95, gap.co.uk Stretch denim that hits above the hips.  ELENAOR says: ¿The jeans are comfortable and my waist has become smaller.¿

High Rise Sculpt True Skinny Jeans, £54.95, gap.co.uk Stretch denim that falls above the hips. ELENAOR says: ‘The jeans fit comfortably and slim my waist completely.’

But now that life is back to normal, we’ve dusted them off and – if you’re anything like me – our old ones don’t fit anymore.

No wonder Marks & Spencer has seen tremendous growth in jeans sales.

The retailer has sold more than two million pairs in the past six months, and its Magic Shaping jeans have sold out online and in-store. These promise to lift bottoms and slim down spare tires.

My problem with shapewear is that the flab doesn’t just disappear – it has to go somewhere. My experience is that if you pinch it down in one place, it usually reappears in another.

Anyone who has tried to get the air out of an inflatable mattress will know what I mean. Even if it cuts off a few inches and gives you a slim silhouette, there’s nowhere to go because the shapewear is so tight that you’re walking like a zombie and sitting is impossible.

High waisted Lift & Sculpt skinny jeans, from £75, landsend.co.uk Stretch denim with a 'no gap' waist.  ELENAOR says: ¿These gave me a fantastic pert bottom.¿

Lift & Sculpt High Waist Skinny Jeans, from £75, landsend.co.uk Stretch denim with a ‘no gap’ waist. ELENAOR says: ‘This gave me a fantastic permanent base.’

But maybe the latest models have a little more ‘give’ to accommodate wobbly bits?

We decided to put them to the test – trying all the jeans on a size 16 model.

We measured her waist in regular jeans — 38.5 inches — and compared those to the measurement of each slimming pair.

And what about comfort? Holding up a £39.50 M&S Magic Shaping Straight Leg jeans (third from right) in size 16, they look so small I have to check the label again.

Never mind magic, it will certainly take witchcraft to squeeze into this.

Flared jeans, £130, next.co.uk The Gut Check panel targets the midsection.  ELENAOR says: ¿They certainly suck you in, but you couldn't sit comfortably in them for long, let alone eat!

Flared jeans, £130, next.co.uk The Gut Check panel focuses on the abdomen. ELENAOR says, ‘They sure suck you in, but you couldn’t sit comfortably in them for long, let alone eat!

Marks & Spencer tells me the jeans are made using ‘smart technology’ and ‘shaping darts’, but let’s face it, it’s just super stretchy fabric.

Miraculously, they do fit. They are soft, comfortable and my saggy buttocks look swollen and lifted.

And although the Simon Cowell waistband is high, it has reduced my stomach considerably.

They also pass the sitting test easily. I fully expect the flab to explode over the top, but it stays contained nicely.

Magic Shaping Straight Leg jeans, £39.50, marksandspencer.com Shaping darts provide an extra lift.  ELENAOR says: ¿My favorites!  They complete my figure well.¿

Magic Shaping Straight Leg Jeans, £39.50, marksandspencer.com Shaping darts provide an extra lift. ELENAOR says: ‘My favorites! They complete my figure well.’

Florence Skinny Mid Rise Instasculpt jeans, £184, iris fashion.co.uk Sustainable contouring jeans.  ELENAOR says: ¿These are soft and give you a nice hourglass shape.¿

Florence Skinny Mid Rise Instasculpt jeans, £184, iris fashion.co.uk Durable contour jeans. ELENAOR says: ‘These are soft and give you a nice hourglass shape.’

It’s a different story when I try other size 16 shape jeans. A £130 pair made by shapewear pioneer Spanx (fourth from right) might have a great-sounding Gut Check panel, but they’re so sleek and thin it’s like wearing jeans. The more affordable F&F Contour jeans (far left), which cost £25, are such a high waist that they pretty much sit under my armpits, even if they narrow my thighs.

Gap is now online only, with jeans making up much of its merchandise. Trying on a pair of his Sculpt jeans for £54.95 (third from left). They have ‘hidden front pockets that give you a clean, sleek look all day long’.

However, I’m very happy if a size 16 is way too baggy for me. For a moment I wonder if my fat has been pushed in so far through the M&S jeans that it’s gone forever. That would really be magic.

Rocket Galaxy jeans, £260, irisfashion.co.uk Uses a sculptural weaving technique.  ELENAOR says: ¿These are very tight.  I would never pay that much for jeans either.¿

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

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