Kate's Southeast Asia Style Earns High Marks

09/20/2012 at 10:05 AM EDT

Kate Middleton Style: Asia Tour Dresses
The Duchess of Cambridge
Getty (2); WireImage; Getty
The Duchess of Cambridge made all the right fashion moves during her recent tour of Southeast Asia – at least according to the experts.

British fashion commentator Hilary Alexander tells PEOPLE she was "delighted" at Kate's dress choices.

"What intrigued me ... was the way she has taken a tip from the Queen and been careful to incorporate national symbols [into her clothes]," Alexander says. "At the dinner in Malaysia, for example, she had the hibiscus [the national flower] embroidered on the Alexander McQueen dress (far left)."

Not only was her symbolism spot-on, but the cuts of her dresses were appropriate, too. "The style has had a slight hint toward the national dress, such as the V-neck Jenny Packham (second from left)," Alexander says. "That was similar to the tops that you see women in Singapore wearing."

"She looked very fresh and very feminine, and the skirts mostly seemed to be slightly longer than she would wear back here – showing less leg," Alexander adds.

In the early days of the tour, Kate, 30, gave a nod to local designers, too, wearing a violet-printed dress (second from right) by Prabal Gurung, who was born in Singapore. "And later she wore a dress by a local designer, Raoul (right), who is apparently one of the stars of Singapore Fashion Week," Alexander says. "That's very thoughtful, and it's a kind of tribute to the country you are visiting."

Though Kate is often seen as a conservative dresser, Alexander believes she's quite smart about outfit selection.

"She is not a showy, look-at-me dresser. Her choices are quite savvy," she says. "They are not safe but they are always exactly right. But most importantly they are always incredibly feminine and flattering without being too girlie."

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