Lingerie now plays a greater part in the latest fashion trends. And the inclusion of high street retailers - ranging from Marks & Spencer, which accounts for 30% of lingerie sold in England each year and where an item of lingerie is sold every second - to the cheaper brands such as Primark and Matalan, means women can buy lingerie in a wide variety of styles at different prices.

At one end of the scale, the catwalk trend this year is the modern and flirty feminine embroidery from designers such as Emma Cook and Alexander McQueen.

And though specialist shops for lingerie purchases are an important source of inspiration, other key drivers are the lingerie ranges being added in supermarkets and smaller chain stores.

The lilac frill mesh bra and briefs set has been flying off the shelves at Tesco since its launch this season because of its fresh and feminine style. At Asda, the newly designed range by celebrity and topless model Katie Price ticks all the other boxes in the season's lingerie trends

The total retail market for lingerie - including hosiery, corsetry and lingerie - is £2.48bn. It is up 13.3% since 2002 and has been boosted by continued interest and acceptance of lingerie as a fashion item. The market is expected to rise to approximately £2.9bn over the next five years. Corsetry is now the biggest-selling sector within the market.

Ideas about beauty and fashion have changed radically over the years and today's lighter, lacier and flirtier fabrics mean that women can buy lingerie that is both sexy and comfortable to wear.

Each season, lingerie ranges become more adventurous and it is no different this season. There is greater emphasis on both lacy fabrics and second-skin shapes such as moulded T-shirt bras and seam-free underwear. Highly decorative pieces now include, and concentrate on, strap details as well as the cup of the bra itself.

Juicy, bright colour options for spring and summer will follow on from the acid colours that featured on the Milan catwalk, while print will also be big news for the summer. Although the shape of lingerie pieces tend to be ever familiar this season, stores across the country are likely to stock ranges that reflect the fact designers are using brighter, acidic and more daring colours.