NEW YORK — For four sportswear and ready-to-wear designers, outerwear has become a way to round out their collections and boost sales.

Like the women for whom they design, Michelle Smith, Rebecca Taylor, Nanette Lepore and Maria Marda Facchinelli aren’t likely to make a special trip to a coat department in search of a winter jacket. That fall ritual is passé with time-starved working women in their 20s and 30s who are more inclined to buy something more stylish than the often cookie-cutter selection in department stores or discounters, the quartet sounded.

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