It's one of the most torturous challenges in women's fashion: the hunt for that one pair of jeans – just one – that's stylish, comfortable and flattering.

It's no help when designers seem driven to manufacture denim only for a certain segment of the female population who are, or could be, featured in the pages of Vogue and Harper's Bazaar .

But what about what other women need? The ones with real curves?

Tummy Tuck Jeans, created by Lisa Rudes-Sandel of the Not Your Daughter's Jeans company, thinks it has the answer.

“Tummy Tuck Jeans not only flatten the tummy and contour the hips; they also lift the buttocks, slim the body and allow the wearer to wear one size smaller,” states the brand's Web site,

Does that sound too good to be true? Especially at a time of year when a lot of us have feasted on holiday foods and luscious desserts?

The jeans, which first appeared in 2005, have garnered attention nationwide. People magazine, for example, featured them in its StyleWatch section and wrote about the jeans' innovation: “Patented criss-cross stitching on the inside of the front pockets creates a corset-like effect that holds in stomachs to make them look flatter – comfortably!”

California retailer Gottschalks began carrying the line in mid-December. Carmen Saucedo, a Gottschalks assistant buyer, says the sales so far have been “phenomenal.”

“We ran one ad to let people know that we carry these, and the sales have been great,” she says. “We think it's word of mouth because, like anything, when you find something you like, you're going to tell people.”

The jeans are available in a range of sizes, including petites. They come in colors such as black, blue and blue-black, and with different leg openings.

The price will make some women balk: They run about $98 per pair. Some women may decide they'll keep searching or make do with what they have. Others may think the product is worth the investment, if the jeans fit like a glove and enhance the figure.

Just before New Year's weekend, we had a few women try on the jeans to see what they think: Kelly Barnhart, 38, Tita Hernandez, 20, Tracy Peterson, 50 and Angela Prine, 23. The women – who wear different sizes ranging from 6 to 14 – had not heard of the line but were game to try.

“They're really comfortable,” says Hernandez. “I can wear these to sleep, they're so comfortable. It doesn't really feel like you're wearing jeans at all. They feel so light.”

Barnhart gives the jeans a thumbs-up. But she wasn't completely satisfied with how the first pair, a size 10, fit. The stomach area is fine, she says, but the upper pant legs are wrapped snugly around her thighs.

She tries on two other pairs, both 12s, but they feel and look too big. So she gives the original 10s another whirl. She sits in them and later says that part of the process was figuring out how you are supposed to feel in these jeans. She likes how the pants gave her figure much more rounded curves rather than a squished look.

Barnhart says she would consider buying a pair “if they went on sale.”

Prine, who usually wears a 6 or 8, also likes the jeans for their comfortable feel. She says it's hard for her to find a good fit because most jeans can't accommodate the proportions of her legs and hips.

“These are comfortable,” she says. “I can move around in them. They feel great.”

Like Barnhart, Prine says the price is an issue for her. It's also one for Peterson, who, like Barnhart, gives the jeans a thumbs-up but says she would buy a pair if they were on sale.

But Peterson does enjoy the way they fit. On her figure, she says it appears the jeans do flatten her stomach.

“This is great because it's form-fitting,” she says, “not form-feeling.”

© 2007, The Fresno Bee (Fresno, Calif.).

Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.