Q. I am a curvy size 14 and although I’m happy with my figure, I’d love to have slender waist like Mad Men star Christina Hendricks. I’ve heard she wears a corset to achieve her hourglass figure. Where can I find something similar?

 A. For centuries, women all over the world have wished for a slender waist. The English did it with camisoles, the French had corsets and they all had their own ideas on how to get the tiniest of waists. Fashion and entertainment have been best buddies for ages.

During the era of the voluptuous Marilyn Monroe, women would do anything for a petite waistline and now the hourglass is back, thanks largely to the success of the cult TV show Mad Men, which has spawned a fifties style revival. So, whether you're updating your look or seeking new pieces for your seasonal wardrobe, a cinched-in waist is your ticket to super-style.

In the past, achieving the perfect wasp waist required a painful corset or a disciplined exercise regime, but now Marks and Spencer has come up with a much easier solution in the shape of lightweight corset-style lingerie that doesn't force the wearer to hold her breath. Apparently, they are so popular that one is sold every three minutes.

Designers at Marks & Spencer have combined vintage techniques such as panelling and boning with new fabric bonding technology to create their Waist Sculpt range. The garments replicate the effects of a traditional corset but are light enough to move with the wearer, allowing women to sit down or bend without feeling restricted. “We all have waist envy," the Daily Mail quoted Soozie Jenkinson, head of lingerie design at Marks & Spencer as saying.

"Red carpet celebs have championed the return to the curvaceous, wasp waistline. “But few of us have the time to put in extra hours in the gym, so to achieve those killer curves, we created Waist Sculpt." It is corsetry for the 21st century. Gone are the days of uncomfortable boning and heavy fabrics," she said.

The range, launched four weeks ago, includes waist-cinching knickers for 24 and a body-sculpting slip for 36.50.