3.1 Phillip Lim sweater coat

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Lori Dernavich
Age: 41
Occupation: Employee performance adviser

"Women today are rewriting the business dress code—more separates, fewer traditional suits," says Dernavich. Knits are part of this shift toward informality: A superbly cut purple sweater-coat (3.1 Phillip Lim, $625) has as much authority as a tailored jacket—and you could also wear it with jeans. At 511, Dernavich needn't stick to a single palette; she can pull off several distinct colors and textures at once, like this pale fitted top and bold graphic-print skirt (Zero + Maria Cornejo, $398 and $416). Beads, Joan Rivers. Belt, Kara Ross. Ring, Paige Novick. Watch, David Yurman. Shoes, Nine West.

If you're lanky…
  • Tailored shapes look better than extravagant knits, especially spread out over a rangy frame.
  • Bisecting the body with separates makes you seem less towering.
  • Adding in a print interrupts the head-to-toe axis, toning down your height.