By the time two pale blue lines show up on a pregnancy test, most women know which dresses, skirts and coats suit their shape – and which definitely don't.
But along with learning how to live with all the unexpected pregnancy symptoms, women also have to teach themselves how to dress with a bump. And none more so than members of the royal family, who are not only caught in the glare of the public eye but who have to consider protocol when they're out and about in public.
Luckily for Princess Eugenie, who announced that she and husband Jack Brooksbank are expecting their first child in early 2021 on Friday, she has a a number of royal women to look to who have already negotiated the world of colourful coats, strategically placed clutch bags and voluminous print dresses for her, so she can just copy and paste where appropriate.
Eighties ruffles and collars are back
The Peter Pan collars and ruffled necklines Princess Diana wore while pregnant with William and Harry are back and bigger and better than ever. Voluminous yet highly fashionable and wonderfully easy to wear, they are the prettiest way to get through the nine months Di-style.
High-fashion dresses are still on the table
The Duchess of Sussex wears a Victoria Beckham chain-print dress that had debuted on the catwalk a few weeks earlier, topped off here with a Jackie Kennedy-style pillbox hat and a dark green clutch and stilettos. Meghan and Victoria Beckham are now working closely together, and the Duchess proves that being pregnant doesn't mean your favourite brands need to be relegated to the back of your wardrobe.
Heels are allowed (but only if you have a driver)
The normal frills, bows and embellishments that make outfits memorable are harder to wear when pregnancy hits the mid-way mark, so it seems unfair that shoes also have to become less interesting. But as the Duchess of Sussex proves here, heels can elongate legs, slim ankles and make an embellished black coat (this one by Givenchy) look even more regal.
The high-street does a good line in maternity clothes
Even if you're a Duchess with an impressive budget to spend on clothes, expensive maternity dresses that will only be worn a handful of times can feel wasteful. Hence why Kate is often spotted in high street clothes while pregnant – here, in a white and black dress by Topshop that cost just £38.
Small prints are better than big ones
Print dresses are a perennial royal favourite – and one glance at the London Fashion Week collections illustrates how on trend they are too. But once you're six months and above, small prints in dark colours work better than maximalist patterns in rainbow hues. Take a cue from Princess Diana, looking wonderfully 2020 in green and white polka dots with puff sleeves and white flats.
A great coat is a maternity essential
Princess Eugenie's baby is due in early 2021, so her entire pregnancy will be spent in cold weather – meaning good coats will be her go-to. Luckily she has a master of formal outerwear dressing in the form of her cousin-in-law. The Duchess of Cambridge has a penchant for jewel-coloured coats like this one by Catherine Walker, paired here with a sculptural hat and diamond earrings.
Blue is a winning colour
No matter what the gender of their baby, statistics show women choose to dress in blue more than any other colour during pregnancy. And while Princess Eugenie is unlikely to be travelling abroad any time soon, this Caroline Herrera gown is the perfect addition to any pregnancy wardrobe, thanks to its flowing cut and pretty, but not too punchy, patterns.
Empire line dresses are always flattering
The Duchess of Cambridge wore this empire-line Alexander McQueen dress in Oslo when pregnant with Prince Louis and proved just how flattering chiffon and pale blush hues can be. The embellishments on her shoulders look particularly ornamental when paired with a simple updo and subtle jewellery.
It's not all about dresses...
Skirts and shirts are some of the first items to get relegated to the back of the wardrobe once women pass the 12-week mark. But as Meghan proves here in black Givenchy, with the right cut, sleek separates can be hugely flattering even in late-stage pregnancy.
Get fashion inspiration from your mother
Sarah Ferguson's boater and white heels may be a little too much in 2020, there is something wonderfully retro about her puff-sleeve sailor dress, finished off with a big navy blue bow. We hope that for Eugenie's sake this outfit is lurking somewhere at the back of her wardrobe, ready to be passed down to the next generation.