Marks and Spencer's "modest" section on its website has met with some criticism online, with customers claiming it implies women "not swathed from head to toe are immodest".

"Modest" is now a sub-category of women's clothing on the website, where the category description states: "Switch up your style in these chic outfitting pieces designed to mix, match and layer. Featuring flowing fabrics, higher necklines and lower hems, you'll find the perfect look, every time." The section of the website which has been live since October continues to attract social media reaction. It gathers "modest" clothing from various lines into one easy place for browsing.

The definition of modest in relation to women is as follows: "Dressing or behaving so as to avoid impropriety or indecency, especially to avoid attracting sexual attention." Many online users have been critical of the use of the term 'modest', with one saying: "Will there also be a slut range where a shame alarm goes off any time an item is purchased?"

One Mumsnet user summed up the problem with the word: "I wish they wouldn't call it 'modest'. It implies women not swathed from head to toe are immodest." Others suggested the section should be renamed "covered" or "no-skin" to avoid insinuation against those who dress in more revealing clothes.

After discovering the modesty page, one Twitter user said, with an angry red-faced emoji: "Didn't realise that I've spent the last 65+ years dressing immodestly. I shall rectify that forthwith."

Another said: "l have no problem with 'modest clothing. l just don't see the need to market it as that. lf you want modest, you buy modest. You don't need it labelled." A third joked that when they had recently bought silver sparkly ankle boots from M&S, they had not noticed the "shameless trollop or mutton dressed as lamb" section heading.

And author Elizabeth Chadwick asked: "When does the M&S Modest range for men come out?"

But not everyone was critical; some shoppers liked the idea it would make certain types of clothes easier to find. One Mumsnet user said: "It's a great idea. It's going to be much easier for people looking to cover up to find what they want. Can't get excited about the word 'modest' either to be honest. Women can wear what they want - those looking to wear modest clothing can find it easily. Win win."

An M&S spokesperson told IBTimes UK: "This selection of outfit ideas reflects growing customer demand. 'Modest fashion' is an increasingly popular search term, as customers tell us they are looking for more stylish layering pieces, with features such as longer hemlines, sleeves and higher necklines."

The spokesperson also explained that the website simply uses "modest" as a search filter, and is not a standalone range but instead a selection of outfit ideas put together by stylists from the wider M&S collections.