Still searching for the perfect jeans?

Nikki ParkinsonFashion 62 Comments

Sponsored by Blue Illusion

Finding the perfect jeans is the winter fashion equivalent of the annual summer swimsuit hunt. Without perhaps the same level of change room over-exposure.

You see, just like most of us need a swimsuit to enjoy the spoils of summer, having a pair of jeans in your wardrobe that fits, flatters and is super comfy to wear is the key to making the most of winter too.

Those jeans have to be a pair that you can rely on.

A pair you can dress up, dress down, take on holidays or wear around the house.

Just knowing they’re there means that all is right in your winter wardrobe world.

For me, finding that ideal mix of fit, flatter and comfort was never an easy task. I did find a fave pair when I was introduced to US brand NYDJ – as many of my regular readers would know.

So when the French-inspired Australian store Blue Illusion asked me to try out their new shaping jean collection – and invite a reader along to experience them too – then you can bet that I went in store with some pretty high expectations.

Read on to see what I thought.

Blue Illusion shaping denim collection

Skinny jeans are most flattering

Before I get into the nitty gritty, I know I’ll have to address the styling elephant in the room.

Whenever I talk about jeans – any jeans – I’m always championing a skinny or slim style as the most universally flattering denim style.

Once again, if you’re a regular around here you would have heard me banging on about that for a few years now.

Don’t be put off by the word skinny – we’re talking streamlined here and a streamlined leg will always be most flattering. It will elongate your leg – something that most of us are huge fans of.

The clincher for making this style work for you is to think about what you wear with the jeans. Want to camouflage a hip or tummy? Wear a slightly longer top.

You’ll never be stuck for footwear choices when opting for the skinny jean. Ankle boots, knee-high boots (can be tucked in), heels, flat sandals, ballets, loafers, sneakers, thongs … they all work. With a bootleg or flared jean you really need to be prepared to wear heels with them to avoid “clown” feet with a flat shoe choice.

Getting a skinny that fits

When I say fit, I mean fit that allows you to still breathe while having a suck-er-in effect with minimal to none muffin top.

Sounds impossible you say?

The key is in the denim – and specifically the stretch of the denim. When that stretch has been engineered just right then you get the denim planets aligning and you have a pair that is firm on you but with a comfort level that could sustain a long-haul flight.

The Shaping Jean

It’s like Blue Illusion has been in my head as they’ve ticked off all of my denim requirements, resulting in two new additions to its denim range that do all of the above. And yes, I’d happily wear them on a plane trip.

The two jeans are Le Isabelle and Le Raquel – both are made from premium European denim.

Isabelle is designed with a slender or apple shape in mind. She has a mid-rise waist, a smooth and supportive mid-section and comes in a mid-wash blue. In addition, the Isabelle showcases a unique fabric treatment containing vitamin E, ginko biloba and sea kelp to improve skin moisture and circulation.

Here is Le Isabelle on the model …

Blue Illusion AW14 Le Isabelle

Blue Illusion Le Isabelle jeans $199.95

And here is Le Isabelle on Kathryn …

Kathryn is a mum of grown-up children and lives on and runs a citrus farm in Gayndah in Queensland’s North Burnett. She needs her jeans to do double duty – for casual and dressed-up purposes. She’s a small apple shape and the XS is perfect for her. With stretch denim it’s essential that you buy tight as they will over-stretch way more easily than regular denim. Saggy, baggy denim is not the look we’re going for. The jeans have been tucked up for the photo to keep a more dressy look but could be worn scrunched at the ankle for a casual look.

This combination of denim, a jacket, red tee and statement necklace creates a dressy denim outfit that is classic and could take Kathryn anywhere in a Queensland winter. It’s also a classic colour combination that won’t date and has great wardrobe longevity.

Blue Illusion AW14 | Le Isabelle jeans | cropped jacket | top | necklace | flats

Blue Illusion Le Isabelle jeans $199.95 | cropped jacket $169.5 | top $59.99 | necklace $79.95 | flats (no longer available online)

Blue Illusion AW14 necklace jacket and top

Raquel is designed with the curvy/pear shape in mind. She has a high-rise waist for added contouring, a straight leg that’s still on the slim/skinny side and comes in a dark denim in a stretch fabric finish that oozes comfort and support. In addition, the Raquel is made from a denim that uses almost no water consumption or resins in its fabrication.

Here is Le Raquel on the model …

Blue Illusion AW14 Le Raquel jeans

Blue Illusion Le Raquel jeans $199.95

And here is Le Raquel on me …

Across winter, denim is my daily friend. I need my denim to be comfortable for sitting at a desk all day, to doing the school pick-up and drop-off as well as meetings and errands. I need to be able to wear comfortable, flat shoes with them but still look dressed up with the addition of a jacket and scarf. I’m wearing a size L.

This combination I’m wearing is my go-to in winter. A leather jacket has been on my lust-list for this season and this one suits my everyday style perfectly. I’m wearing a size L. Love that it’s collarless so not bulky near the bust and love the quilted detailing. I’ve worked it and the jeans back with a black stripe tee, red scarf and red jacquard loafers for a classic look that has interest in colour and texture.

Blue Illusion AW14  | Le Raquel jeans | leather jacket | top | scarf | loafers

Blue Illusion Le Raquel jeans $199.95 | leather jacket $449.95 | top $39.99 | scarf $79.95 | shoes $139.95

Blue Illusion AW14  | Le Raquel jeans | leather jacket | top | scarf | loafers

Blue Illusion AW14 Raquel denim back view

Things to note

Don’t feel as if you have to opt for one jean style over the other just because you’re a pear or an apple or curvy or slender. With jeans it’s about the fit and no two bodies are alike.

For me, the mid waist of the Isabelle worked best and interestingly Kathryn found the high waist and dark wash of the Raquel to her liking. So both styles would work for both of us.

This isn’t meant to confuse you – just to remind you that shape and styling ideas are great but it’s how they work on your body that is the ultimate test.

The size range in these jeans is great – from XS through to 3L. Do try a size down from your normal jeans size – the fit needs to be firm.

For some, the thought of spending $200 on a pair of jeans might be difficult to justify. I get that. For me, the clincher all those years ago when I first found a pair of jeans that did fit and flatter my shape was that the investment was worth it because they did fit and flatter my shape. And because they did make me feel fabulous, I wore those jeans over and over and over again.

These Blue Illusion ones come in at a slight cheaper price point than those NYDJs. In regards to how they stack up? They very much do and then some.

In my opinion, they are on a par with the shape, lift and comfort factor but when it comes to the fabric itself, there is more of a luxe feel to the Blue Illusion denim. Quite dreamy to wear.

Try it for yourself.

Special offer

Blue Illusion has $25 gift voucher for all Styling You readers. Simply enter SHAPE25 at the checkout. Shopping in store? Print out this voucher below or show it on your phone when in store.


Do you find it difficult to find the perfect jeans?

Coordinated by The Remarkables Group; Kathryn and I both received a pair of these new denim jeans plus a $300 gift card to spend in store. I put mine towards the leather jacket pictured above. Thanks to the lovely ladies in store at Blue Illusion Indooroopilly, Brisbane for making us feel very special in store.

Comments 62

  1. Just popped back to this post to remind myself of the brand. I so need some new jeans… I’ve got chunky legs and so the word skinny is a bit scary but have located the stores in Sydney and will give the jeans a whirl. Thanks for heads up, I read this post when it came out and had a mental note to get back to it.

  2. Oh my goodness gracious me! I just came home this afternoon with THE most amazing pair of jeans I have ever had the pleasure of wearing. I bought the Le Raquel jeans and they are gorgeous. SO comfy yet I feel like I have lost 10kg just by putting them on. It flattens my post baby tummy, and I can still move. So happy. Thank you for the tip and for the voucher!

  3. Yes, can you please let us know if the voucher is avilable here in NZ please – I’m planning a shopping expedition this afternoon.

  4. Thanks for the article, Nikki! I’ve never found a pair of stretch jeans that still fit me after wearing them for a day. They always stretch too much and look baggy and awful. Are these Blue Illusion jeans still OK to wear after a day or two?

    1. Yes but only if you buy super firm – like any stretch jean – you have to go out of your comfort zone and really try down a size as well as your regular size before deciding which to buy.

  5. Nikki, I’m chanelling your look today for casual Friday at work but I failed on the footwear. It was about 7deg when I left the house and I couldn’t manage the ballet flats or loafers so ran back and grabbed some socks!!! Any suggestions on footwear for those of us in Melbourne so we can still look smart.

  6. I LOOVE that Leather Jacket. I have gone into Blue Illusion with my mum as she is a massive fan of the brand. For me, jeans need to be long to suit my legs.

  7. I’m a regular at Blue Illusion’s Williamstown store and online. They have such beautiful pieces. I have to admit I haven’t bought jeans from there as I’m a Sussan and Dream Diva jeans girl. Usually I can’t find jeans that are long enough (Yay for being 5’10 :/), so I tend to stick with the brands I know will fit.

    1. It is SO difficult finding jeans to suit a longer leg Kellie – whenever anyone complains about having to take up hems, I remind them of the fact that tall women can’t just add bits on!!

  8. I have to chip in to say I’m a total Jeanswest girl. I have an exaggerated hourglass shape – small waist, round hips, sway back. Hard to find jeans that fit, but their curve embracer jeans make me feel like a superstar. And they are cheap. And fashion-forward with ankle zips, or faded with rips, and interesting washes. The only thing I don’t like about them is that they are such a favourite they need replacing every few months because they have stretched out at the waist. Would happily pay more for something that could be a favourite and wear and wear and wear – because that’s the point of jeans isn’t it…. they should be your favourites for years.

    1. They should be your favourites for years and yes, it is a fabric quality thing. You got over the first hurdle though – finding a pair of jeans that fitted your shape. Not an easy task.

    2. They should be your favourites for years and yes, it is a fabric quality thing. You got over the first hurdle though – finding a pair of jeans that fitted your shape. Not an easy task.

  9. Hey Nikki, after reading this yesterday morning i jumped online and bought the leather jacket in this post, crossing my fingers that the size and cut would work for me. I’m in NZ and the voucher worked perfectly – and my new jacket arrived this morning first thing – and i absolutely love it! It will be coming out with me tonight to a comedy show with my NYDJ Janice jeans – another purchase i have you to thank for 🙂
    Seriously, its just as well you live in Brisbane as i would otherwise worry about bumping into you wearing the same outfits! Thanks again for your fabulous work!

  10. Do you have any tips on how to determine if the jeans will stretch? I bought a pair the other year from Big W that were firm in the shop, but figured “Hey, they’re jeans and jeans stretch and work with you”…sadly no. They were uncomfortable and never gave at all. Is there a combination of fabric that would work best to look for?

    1. If it is a straight denim fabric (ie no stretch component) they will not stretch very much at all. So you need to go with a fit that works from the get go. They will give a little but not much. It’s when there is a stretch component that you’ll get a great stretch over time – the higher % of that stretch in the denim mix, the more stretch. Look for fabrics like spandex included.

  11. These jeans look really great. Do you think they would be ok to wear tucked in with knee high boots? Now I have found myself a pair of boots I want to wear them as much as possible this year.

  12. I love, love jeans but have the worst trouble finding a great pair. I have a round backside, shortish legs and large calves (I’m 163 cm and size 14) which equals nightmare! Skinnies are just too tight on my calves, any suggestions? I would love to wear ankle boots but with my calves it seems impossible. Thanks!!

    1. Skinnies with a stretch work! Trust me, my calves are generous. I struggle in regular skinnies – and by struggle I mean they just don’t fit – but in a pair like these it’s like wearing leggings but with soft denim.

  13. I simply could not live with out jeans. I won’t discriminate – give me skinnies or flares or boyfriends. Distressed, indigo, white black. High rise, Mid Rise, hipster. Whatever, just a as long as they’re denim!

  14. Kathryn and Nikki, you both look great, but I noted the models tucked-in tops and had a laugh to myself….does anyone wear mid or high rise jeans with a tucked in top nowadays?
    I have a pair of 7 For All Mankind Kimmy straights that I had been reduced and reduced to under $100 at Just Jeans, that have the most beautiful feel and flattering fit for my shape- and I love that the name is sewn into the inside waistband so I can find them again!

  15. I love both your and Kathryn’s looks ,loving your loafers too and I’m glad you got a leather jacket.I have always liked skinny jeans but I would describe myself as a column shape no waist and straight up and down with skinny leg,my favourite jeans are NYDJeans,and Katie’s ultimate jeans or jeggings great for everyday and I have a pair of CR skinnies that I like as well.Great post Nikki your new jeans look fab!

  16. Yes god love the skinny jean! I was completely disinterested until hubby, with his background of working in Jeansplus at Myer for years, suggested there wasn’t any other option. Love the look of these too! Hopefully they will have a discount offer for SY readers too in September, once I’m out of maternity jeans

  17. Both ‘real’ models look gorgeous.
    I have been after a substitute for my NYDJ and here they are!
    Many thanks for the voucher, I have two Blue Illusion stores only a ten minutes drive from home, so no excuse.

  18. This is fantastic, I have been looking at these jeans. I love Blue Illusion tops and Le Isabelle jeans have been on my radar. Is the $25 voucher valid in New Zealand stores? I am going to the mall today and would love to use it!

  19. thanks nikki! all looking good … love your dark ones the best and those shoes … mmmm! looks like a lovely place to shop too! cheers! m:)X

  20. Levis have been making fitted jeans for the shape of individual bodies since at 2010. Levis are the ONLY jeans that fit my fit, healthy body.

  21. Hmmm, I might have to check these out as I have a Blue Illusion just up the road from me. I have had trouble with jeans. I’ve had twins so I don’t fit in the low rise, skinny girls jeans. You successfully got me off the bootleg jeans and I’ve never looked back! I’ve been wearing Sportscraft Thea jeans ever since. I like that the Blue Illusion ones are dark denim. I could be tempted! That voucher may get an outing. 🙂

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