Having a Visible Panty Line, or VPL, is widely regarded as one of the most serious crimes a woman can commit against fashion.

The mere suggestion that someone might be able to see the shape of your knickers through tight clothing is enough to get you arrested by the style police.

But now, one of Britain's leading High Street clothing chains, famed for supplying the nation's women with dependable underwear, claims to have solved the problem using the latest technology.

Marks & Spencer's latest top-end fashion collection, Autograph Exclusive, unveiled yesterday, and modelled by Lizzy Jagger and Erin O'Connor, includes a selection of "No VPL" knickers, the outline of which cannot be seen through clothing.

The company's designers have studied the tensile properties of the latest fabrics and used new technology to bond lingerie fabric together without traditional stitching.

This then smoothes out the edges of its new bras and knickers.

The "No VPL" knickers will be rolled out nationwide in both shorts and Brazilian style following a successful trial.

They are made from fabric which is cut away at the edges instead of stitched.

Underwear made using heat bonding instead of stitching to fuse fabric together and minimise lumps and bumps under clothing will be launched in the autumn as part of the "body miracle" range.

Richard Gray, the fashion features editor at 10 magazine, welcomed the new underwear range and strongly criticised those who did not pay sufficient attention to eradicating their VPL. "Having a VPL is unforgivable. It is as bad as picking your nose in public.

"It is not cute, never has been cute and is a poke in the eye to modern manners."

Mr Gray said that while women had the option of "going commando" and dispensing with underpants altogether, this was not something he would recommend.

"I would advise wearing boy pants in nude [tone] as they can be worn under any colour of clothing and not show through."