Just when you've figured out what's cool, it's no longer hot.

Fashion designers have turned the tables big time with fall fashions.They put short skirts on the back burner. (Bad news for women with knockout legs. Good news for the rest of us.)

The new look is long and lean. Skirts and dresses take a straight shot to mid-calf or the ankle. Many are knit.

But leg lovers won't be disappointed. A side slit, a front slit or a back slit give onlookers a peek at the curvature of your calf.

Wear the skirt with a waist-length jacket of contrasting fabric or a matching cardigan or turtleneck. This silhouette is attractive on women with a trim waist and a well-toned derriere.

Coats, taking their cue from skirts, have hemlines that hover around the ankles. They work equally well over a slinky formal dress or jeans. They come in handy as a coverup, too. Wear one over your ragged sweats and dirty t-shirt on an emergency errand. The neighbor you meet in the grocery store won't know the difference.

You'll also see wrap-around knit coats with tie belts and knee-length coats. (We used to call them car coats.)

Sweater sets are making news. Choose a matching shell and cardigan and wear the cardigan tied loosely around your shoulders.

Sweaters big enough to get lost in and comfortable enough that you would want to are the other extreme.

Donna Karan specializes in big sweaters with long knit skirts this season.

The silhouette for pantsuits is also long and slender. Jackets are almost dress-length, coming to just above your knee. The style is a welcome sight to women who have more hip than they like.

The color scheme is often monochromatic. You'll find pants, tops and jackets in the same fabric.

The palette is predominantly grey - aluminum grey, steel grey, lavender grey, charcoal grey. But you'll also see browns, plums and greens.

And shoes? They are flat. Payments to the podiatrist will plummet.

If you noticed the prices on the fashions we've featured here, you're probably in sticker shock.

Designer fashions are unconscionably expensive. They cost more than many Utah women would think of spending.

There are ways to work around high prices.

Shop the sales racks where merchandise is marked down by 50 to 75 percent.

Wait. Designer silhouettes often influence less-expensive lines that show up later. Those lines are priced for the mass market.

Some women purchase one classic item a year that can be worn for decades to come.

Or take a clue from fashion-conscious Parisian women, many of whom can't afford to indulge in expensive clothes any more than you can. They purchase one outfit a year in which they look stunning and they wear it often.

What do Utahns think of the new fall fashions?

We asked a handful of women to tell us what they liked about clothes featured in a recent ZCMI-Vogue fashion show at Little America Hotel. The fashion show/luncheon, a benefit for the Salt Lake County Medical Society Alliance, included day wear, outer wear and evening wear.

With the exception of evening wear that was made of shimmery, body-clinging fabrics, they liked what they saw - a lot.

Here's what they said:

Margaret Bird, age 51, 5' 1/2" tall, the school trust lands specialist for the Utah State Board of Education: Her favorite fall looks include monochromatic color schemes. "Because I'm short, I liked the way they used shirts or pants, a top and a jacket all in the same color. Using the same color doesn't make you look chopped up or as little as you are. I also liked the slender, ankle-length coats. But short people have to be careful with long things. They (shouldn't) get something too bulky. A long coat has to be thin or they'll look like they're dressing up in their mother's coat," she said, admitting that she's made some of these mistakes.

She particularly liked a grey monochrome pantsuit with a slim-fitting tunic that comes to lower-thigh and is worn with matching pants. "I think the long (lean) jacket makes a short person look taller."

Sally Larkin, age 47, 5'8" tall, a member of the Salt Lake County Medical Society Alliance: "I loved the grey, but putting color with it gave it a lot more interest," she said, referring to a lavender turtleneck and matching jacket worn with grey pants. "I thought the coats were about the prettiest thing." She particularly liked a navy, ankle-length coat from Emanuel. The show also featured ankle-length knit skirts. "The people at my table loved them. I think the knit skirt is a great look but you can't have any bulges to wear them." She likes the longer hemlines, in general, which in the show ranged from just below the knee, to mid-calf, to ankle-length. "Longer skirts are really nice, especially as you get a little older. They're more universally flattering. More people can wear them."

Julie Enslin, age 45, 5'7" tall, a member of the Salt Lake County Medical Society Alliance: Tailored, classic clothes that "take you anywhere, anytime," are most to her liking. Her favorite was an ankle-length, slender, grey skirt worn with a short (barely below-the-waist) contrasting jacket. Her favorite coat was a 3/4-length wool-wrap camel. A knee-length dress with a matching jacket and coordinating stockings (another vote for monochromatic) was a look that also caught her eye.

Sandra Helm, age 61, 5'7" tall, retiree: "I liked the long (ankle-length) skirts with slits. I also liked the sleeveless look. I often wear sweaters and jackets with a sleeveless dress. The knit suits with brass buttons came in a variety of colors (rust, sable, spruce and emerald), but I prefer them in black or navy." As far as the spangly evening dresses go, "they're for younger people. I might get a spangly shell and wear it under a jacket."

Laura Billones (pronounced Bill-O-ness), age 76, 5'8" tall, retiree: "I liked the long, sleek look - the ankle-length skirts with the flat shoes. Comfort. That's where I want to be." She is not fond of the grey palette. "I'm a senior citizen and grey is positively deadly on me. I will be hunting for something with more color. Any of the soft blues. I love the new wine (plum) color. That's what I'll be looking for."

Teres Love, age 38, 5'4" tall, a mortgage loan officer: "The businesswear was wonderful, the greys and the browns. I liked the ankle-length skirts with a slit up the back. I would wear a dressy sweater that comes to my waist (with one of those.)" After the fashion show, Love went to the downtown ZCMI and purchased an ankle-length, short-sleeved black dress with shimmers throughout. It was in the show.