Kate's Sexy Style Shows Off Her Blossoming Confidence

05/16/2012 at 08:00 AM EDT

Kate's Sexy Style Shows Off Her Blossoming Confidence

The Duchess of Cambridge
Sure she's still shopping at her favorite King's Road boutiques, but the Duchess of Cambridge is making a marked move toward a sexier, more daring style – and she's leaving quite an impression.

"High-level glamour is becoming more of the norm for Kate due to her role," her stylist pal Nikki Pennie, editor-at-large of StyleHaul, says in the new issue of PEOPLE. "She is becoming more playful, putting her hair in gorgeous updos to complement certain dresses. She is clearly enjoying the process and becoming more confident."

She's doing it single-handedly, too. Kate does her own makeup and doesn't have an official stylist, according to palace sources. She also doesn't accept free gifts from designers and chooses her outfits herself.

"She is becoming more and more confident, which I think is exciting to see," says Stewart Parvin, a couturier to the Queen. "The way she does her hair, the way she does her makeup is getting better and better and she has this new inner glow."

For more on Kate's sexy new styles, why she's making bolder choices and photos of Princess Diana's own fashion evolution, pick up this week's PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday

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