"That's an easy takeaway for all of us -- buy the Calvin Klein skirt and wear it with a Gap sweater," she said.
Build a timeless wardrobe of signature pieces so you can shop your closet
The first lady is known for working the same dress, skirt or cardigan on multiple occasions by mixing and matching pieces, Taylor said. She achieves this by building a bankable wardrobe of flared pants, pencil skirts and cardigans that work for her in a pinch, freeing her from the need to follow trends.
"Being comfortable in your own skin is not about following trends but setting them," Taylor said. "A woman who knows how to dress well shows wisdom and restraint and doesn't give into the fashion insecurity of thinking you need a new dress for each season."
True, much of Michelle Obama's wardrobe consists of expensive, quality designer clothing. But spending more on items made to last can cost less over time and reinforce the idea of developing a sense of style and staying true to it, said Spinelli of Savannah College of Art and Design.
"The idea of disposable fashion is costing us more than we know, so it's not a bad thing to teach people to buy something good and keep it for a while instead of throwing it out."
Don't be afraid of color and print as long as you have a deliberate point of view
Obama has embraced mixed patterns, textures and vivid colors, but her confident fashion sense allows her to mix it up with authority.
By wearing watercolor sheaths under embellished cardigans to talk to schoolchildren about healthy eating, or textured floral dresses to meet heads of state, she shows that it's not frivolous to express yourself through fashion while doing the serious work of the first lady of the United States
"She shows us that you can have fun getting dressed up and still be taken seriously and move issues forward," Chernikoff said.