By Bridgette Bartlett (
January 17, 2013

The First Lady is not afraid to wear a piece or even an entire head-to-toe look more than once in public, and you shouldn't be fearful of such acts either. Shopping in one's own closet has long been a secret of savvy fashionistas, but it is even more enticing in light of our current economy. Read on to learn how you too can skillfully mix and match pieces you already own like Mrs. O to extend the life of your wardrobe without spending a single penny.

To Everything There is a Season

Rethink your seasonless clothing and layer, layer, layer. Many of us were raised to stow away spring/summer clothes in the fall and put away fall/winter clothes in the spring. But Mrs. Obama has taught us that this is no longer necessary. Items that you've been reserving for cooler months can work now in the dead of summer with the right manipulation. Distressed boots with cut-off shorts and cardigans over sundresses for chilly nights are effective ways to pull this off.

Everything Old is New Again

Fashion is cyclical. Why not pull out pieces that you haven't worn in years and put them back into rotation? Wearing these items is nostalgic and adds some personality to a look. Always keep items that are classic (like a trench coat, pencil skirt or pearl necklace) because they are guaranteed to be more interesting as they get older.

Back It Up

Most of us are over-consumers. We have more than we realize, even those of us who are struggling financially. Go to the back of your closet and dresser drawer to re-evaluate what you own. We guarantee you'll find at least one item you can add to the wardrobe rotation that you had forgotten about and at least one other thing you can donate to folks who really don't have what they need.

Remix What You Have

Go to the tailor and make your favorite dress that is now a little too snug in the hip area a top. Cut a pair of jeans at mid-calf and wear them with knee-length boots in the fall. Wear your favorite adjustable waist skirt as a dress over a turtleneck in the winter. Break up a suit or twinset like Mrs. O-it's okay to wear that blazer or cardigan with jeans instead of the skirt you purchased it with every now and then. Switch out the belt of your favorite dress or coat for one that is a completely different color or texture.

Host a Swap Party

Folks have been raving about swap parties for a few years, so why not plan a fiesta like this on your own? Everyone brings a designated number of items to the party at a set retail value and the attendees then swap items that they no longer want or need for someone else's. When done correctly, everyone leaves happy, no one has spent any money and it is a great way to declutter!

Mix It Up

Don't be afraid to wear something spanking-new with something that has been in your closet for multiple seasons. There is no need to wear a brand-new head-to-toe look for every special occasion. As the First Lady has demonstrated, intermingling old and new items can be both fun and fashionable. Plus, you're less likely to see anyone wearing your exact outfit at the next barbecue if you take heed to this tip.

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