It all happened exactly as expected:the hemlines were lower, she wore something from Emilia Wickstead, and everybody fell in love.

The Duchess of Cambridge is now an expert at letting her wardrobe do the talking, choosing a series of conservative, and sometimes reworked, ensembles for this tour that said, "I am more than just a fashion plate".

Susan E. Kelley of the website What Kate Wore has been following the Duchess' wardrobe since 2011, and believes her choices are important - especially when she is visiting other countries.

Scroll down to view a gallery of The Duchess' Royal visit looks


"The wardrobe is being used as a strong tool in sending a distinct message: the Duchess respects and honours the people who have made her a guest in their country."

Kelley believes her New Zealand wardrobe showed an evolution from earlier tours.

"The Duchess is wearing styles with a touch more gravitas. Be it hemlines that are a touch lower or the re-working of an older outfit like the red Luisa Spagnoli worn in Christchurch, there are subtle signs marking the progression [from] new bride to the mother of the future King of England."

While trivial to some, these outfit choices are important, having an economic impact - the pieces that she wears sell out almost immediately - and have been covered extensively on this trip by the likes of Vanity Fair, and the Guardian. Vogue yesterday dubbed Catherine the "Duchess of Normcore", a reference to the anti-trend that's about embracing a normal, sensible way of dressing.

Read more: Royal Visit NZ: The tour in pictures

Writer Sarah Mower commented on how she is sidestepping high fashion, crediting her for using her wardrobe to play to New Zealand's obsession with sport - namely by wearing sneakers.

There has been some disappointment that the Duchess did not wear something from a local designer. Several were asked to send garments to the palace earlier this year; they were, however, returned. I am not surprised: the Duchess is using her wardrobe to showcase, largely, British fashion. We were lucky to see her in two international New Zealand fashion success stories, a blue coat dress by Wickstead and yesterday's skit suit by Wellington born, New York-based Rebecca Taylor.

Gallery: Royal Visit: What Kate wore



The nude pumps stayed at home, to the delight of fashion watchers around the world. The Duchess has been mocked in the past for her constant wearing of generic L.K Bennett nude court shoes and wedge heels - neither made an appearance in New Zealand, although it looks as though they have been replaced by the Stuart Weitzman cork wedges. She also wore Mint Velvet plimsolls (currently sold out but due back in store early next month) and variations of pump heels in blue, black and grey - discreet, simple and classic, much like the rest of her wardrobe.