When designers break forth with their new ideas each season, some women clip the ads and run right to the nearest store. Others check their own closets and think first about updating what they already own.

A third group, increasingly large, checks out the antique clothing, thrift, second-hand and consignment stores to see what might be adapted to the latest look. The prices are guaranteed to be far below new-garment prices, and there are no racks and racks of identical clothes. It is often possible to buy a better-quality garment secondhand than might be afforded new.

Maybe some designers had vintage clothing so popular with young women in mind when they cooked up retro hats and Joan Crawford looks a season or two back. While the thrift-shop influence on designers is not nearly as strong now, it's still possible to simulate the new looks from all over the world with worn-before clothing.

We're not saying that you will end up with an identical style, but rather, a personal interpretation of some of the trends.

Some suggestions for shopping second-hand stores:

Don't limit yourself by deciding in advance precisely what you want. Check the racks for quality items that fit the general mood of what you are looking for.

Try on items that are larger than your normal size. Sometimes a small adjustment or the addition of a belt are all that's needed.

Don't overlook items on display. Often they have been selected by the store's owner or manager and are worth special attention. This includes checking store windows. Don't be bashful about asking to try on something right off the display mannequin's back.

Shop second-hand stores frequently. Unlike traditional stores, even the store's owners don't always know what's coming in the next day. Several store managers say that the end of the week is better than the beginning.

Check garments inside and out for stains and wear damage. CAPTION: Pictures 1 and 2, Interpreting one of next fall's looks - fitting wool jacket, lace-trimmed blouse and crepe de chine skirt - with second-hand clothing, all from Geraldine's. Photos by Ellsworth Davis and Margaret Thomas - The Washington Post