The Princess and the Bump

Kate Middleton's maternity style is set to take the fashion world by storm.

Just over a year ago, Kate Middleton walked down the aisle - and onto fashion pages around the world. Her Alexander McQueen dress wowed the world, but it was just the beginning of the new Duchess of Cambridge's life as a style setter.

Every outfit she has worn since has been scrutinized by the media and fashion experts. And although she hasn't failed her many admirers in the past 12 months - she is now facing the biggest fashion challenge of her life.

It’s only been a few days since she announced her pregnancy and there is one question on most people’s lips: What is she going to wear for the next seven months? Now that Kate Middleton’s got a bun in the oven, the maternity fashion show can start.

Obviously - if she does need fabulous maternity couture for big events, she has plenty of designers to choose from. Her pals Prabal Gurung, Jenny Packham, Stella McCartney, Alice Temperley and Sarah Burton of Alexander McQueen, who designed her wedding dress, could create a stunning gown for her at the drop of a Philip Treacy hat.

While Lady Diana’s maternity wardrobe was more frump than fabulous - many are predicting that Kate will stay true to the classic, elegant look she clearly loves. The Duchess always chooses classic elegance over trends, picking simple silhouettes in bright colors that show off her enviable waist and slender arms. But with her soon-to-be changing body, she’ll need to rethink some of her style choices.

That’s why we’ve assembled this collection of maternity-wear tips, especially for the princess and other mums to be.

* No matter what stage you are at, a dress is a maternity must have, they really are one of the most comfortable clothes to wear when pregnant with no restriction or seams around your tummy. A wrap dress will drape in all the right places and can be worn for the office or a Christmas party once it’s dressed up with the right accessories. It is also a wise investment as you can dress it up and down depending on the occasion.

*Simply add a sequined clutch and kitten heels and you are ready for the party season with a gorgeous outfit that has bump friendly glamour! If black is a staple in your pregnancy wardrobe, use accessories, shoes, handbags, and jewellery to bring in colour to your outfits. After all, you will still be able to wear them when the baby arrives

* There’s a wide range of choice in maternity wear these days and now it’s possible to look beautifully dressed at every stage of your pregnancy; everywhere from Debenhams to H&M offer great collections for Mums to be.

*If you don’t fancy trawling the high-street for your Christmas party dress why not shop on line? Tiffany Rose sells gorgeous evening dresses to pregnant women (www.tiffanyrose.com). The on line boutique has several lovely styles, including the Lola which is very glamorous and made from stretchy lace , which will hug your bump, making you look every inch the yummy mummy.

* The first signs of pregnancy are swollen and sore breasts, so get yourself a good fitted bra. With the rapid changes, making sure you're measured is essential to feeling comfortable - your bra size can change up to four times during your pregnancy.

Georgina Heffernan