1: Play Up Your Assets
Take a page out of Michelle Obama's style book and highlight your best features instead of obsessing over the worst. MO's MO? The First Lady emphasizes her enviable, toned arms in sleeveless sheaths and draws attention to her narrow waistline with wide belts.
Charles Ommanney/Getty Images; Polaris
2: Choose Signature Pieces
Define your style wearing (and wearing) pieces that speak to you. Look no further than Mrs. Obama's official portrait (left) to see that the First Lady sticks to favorites like sleeveless sheaths (this by Michael Kors) and a double strand of pearls. Other wardrobe staples include her headline-making cardigan sweaters and belts (far left).
Landov; Joyce Boghosian/The White House
3: Discover Defining Colors
Give black (and navy...and charcoal, etc.) a break! Whether you look best in jewel tones or pastels, wearing color brightens your skin tone (and can have a similar affect on your mood). The First Lady doesn't shy away from printed brights as seen on her magenta Thakoon sheath (far left) or striking solids like a turquoise dress from Maria Pinto (left).
Fabrizio Bensch/Landov; Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
4: Get a Great Haircut
Invest in a versatile, stylish cut. Mrs. Obama's layered bob can go from sleek and straight to flirty and feminine to suit any occasion and outfit.
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images; Ron Sachs-Pool/Getty Images
5: Don't Sacrifice Comfort
Who says you have to suffer for fashion or fabulous shoes? When on the move, the First Lady chooses easy cotton sundresses (like this one from Moschino, left) or tailored trousers dressed up with a fitted jacket (from Azzedine Alaia, far left). Look for pieces that suit your shape while giving you a little extra breathing room. For practical and chic shoes, select sleek ballet flats in patent, snakeskin or metallics, or classic low pumps with a kitten heel.
Sean Gallup/Getty Images; Emmanuel Dunand/Getty Images
6: Shop Your Closet
Effortlessly mix and match key separates to create different looks. Mrs. Obama created two distinctive outfits using her marigold J. Crew cardigan by simply swapping out a print skirt and shell for bright cobalt-blue denim. Step 1: Take inventory of your closet so you know what's in there.
Emmanuel Dunand/AFP/Getty Images; Paul Drinkwater/NBCU Photobank
7: Accessorize like a Pro
Statement jewelry can make an outfit. The First Lady adds oversized Tom Binns necklaces (like those at left) to classic evening ensembles, or fastens her favorite cardigans with a collection of costume brooches. Avoid a fashion exclamation by sticking with one statement piece per outfit.
Marcel Thomas/FilmMagic; Kevin Lamarque/Landov
8: Reveal Your Silhouette
Fitted sheaths (like this from Thakoon, far left) highlight the First Lady's long, lean line, and full-skirted dresses like this Azzedine Alaia design (left) draw attention to her small waist. Find cuts that flatter your figure -- and stick with them.
Brian Snyder/Landov; Fabrizio Bensch/Landov
9: Find Your Resources
Seek out stores with an attentive staff that can do the hard work for you. Mrs. Obama favors Ikram, a fashionable Chicago boutique, where owner Ikram Goldman keeps an eye out for flattering pieces. Many department stores (and trendy shops like Topshop) offer complimentary personal shopping -- just make an appointment ahead of time. Mrs. Obama also saves time and money by shopping online for colorful basics from J. Crew (left). Sticking to your favorite retailers means you'll know which designers, styles and sizes suit you best.
Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images; Leon Neal/Getty Images
10: Know When to WOW!
When it's your time to shine, do it! For the Inauguration, Mrs. Obama went all-out with a hand-embroidered, one-shoulder Jason Wu gown (far left), while at the Democratic National Convention, she added three Erickson Beamon brooches to a bold floral-print dress from Thakoon (left). Next time you're in the spotlight, don't be afraid to break from your typical look: Choose a knockout number that you -- and everyone around you -- will buzz about.
Stan Honda/Getty Images; MCT/Landov