CHICAGO, Illinois (CNN) – Michelle Obama turned the campaign trail into a runway this year, sporting eye-catching colors and feminine cuts that sent fashion bloggers buzzing.
As she coupled chic designer splurges with off-the-rack goodies from J. Crew, H&M, White House/Black Market and Target, fashion spectators say her ability to make a strong statement on a budget sends an important message during tough economic times.
Watch: Michelle Obama, First Lady fashion icon?
"Michelle Obama can't be too over the top; she has to be recession chic all the way," style expert Mary Alice Stephenson said. In a soured economy, the choices she made throughout the campaign show that "she gets it," Stephenson said.
And it's inspiring American women to emulate her style.
Barack Obama is spending the holidays back in Hawaii - but the nation's financial woes mean a working vacation for the president-elect.
Watch: Some of the key moves expected from the Obama transition team.
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