Navy Secretary John Lehman has his own style of dressing and likes it that way. In a recent issue of Defense Week, it was pointed out that Lehman is usually seen in a double-breasted navy blue blazer and white tie with blue stripes. The publication that generally writes about heavy armaments jokingly suggested the establishment of a "Send John Lehman to Brooks Brothers" fund.

The Navy secretary was not greatly amused. In a thanks-but-no-thanks letter published the following week in the same publication, Lehman replied: "I am surprised that you did not recognize the white tie about which you write as the Caius College, Cambridge, 'First Eight' summer rowing tie (not to be confused with the Michaelmas or Lent ties) . . .

"You are quite correct that federal salary limits preclude shopping sprees, but, in any case, if I were to go on one, Brooks Brothers indeed is not my tailor. Besides, as Mrs. Roosevelt once said, 'One does not buy clothes, one has clothes!' " End Notes

Edward Kennedy Jr., who lost a leg to cancer, received a special award at the Dole Foundation dinner Monday night at the J.W. Marriott Hotel. The Dole Foundation is dedicated to helping the handicapped. His father Sen. Edward Kennedy wasn't there to see his son because he wouldn't cross the picket line. The J.W. Marriott is a nonunion hotel, and as Kennedy spokesman Jim Wiehart, said yesterday, "Senator Kennedy wouldn't cross a picket line as a matter of policy . . . "

When Sen. Kennedy and his sisters Pat Lawford and Jean Smith were touring Latin America last winter, Uruguayan President Julio Sanguinetti and his wife Marta Canessa gave a dinner for them. Tonight Kennedy returns the favor by cohosting a dinner along with his sister-in-law Ethel Kennedy at his McLean home. In addition to the Sanguinettis and their delegation, his guest list includes Sens. Claiborne Pell, Richard Lugar, Paul Sarbanes and John Kerry as well as former senator John Culver, Eunice Shriver and sisters Smith and Lawford, U.S. Ambassador to Uruguay Malcolm Wilkey, Ambassador Sol Linowitz and columnists Robert Healey and Carl Rowan . . .

The American National Theater production of "Ajax," which has not received many favorable reviews and has played to disappointingly small audiences in the Kennedy Center's Terrace Theater, will close a week early. Scheduled to run June 2 through July 5, the Peter Sellars-directed production will close June 28. A Kennedy Center spokeswoman said the early closing is "due to poor ticket sales during the traditionally slow holiday week" . . .

*Hospital report: Rep. Rod Chandler was released from Bethesda Naval Hospital Monday. He had undergone abdominal surgery there last week for a viral infection of the lymph nodes. The Republican from Washington State is expected to spend a week recuperating before returning to the Hill . . .

Royal Watch: Princess Diana's 22-year-old brother, a student at Oxford University, said the media has presented a false picture of the drug abuse problem at his school. Charles Spencer, Viscount Althorpe , was interviewed on a London morning television show about reports of drug abuse stemming from the death of Olivia Channon, the 22-year-old daughter of Trade and Industry Secretary Paul Channon. She was found dead June 11 after attending parties celebrating the end of final exams. Her cousins Sebastian Guinness, an heir to the Guinness brewing fortune, and a friend, Rosie Johnston, both 22, were charged with supplying her with heroin. In the television interview Spencer reasoned away the drug charges by contending, "Ninety-nine percent of Oxford students cannot afford drugs. Most are worried about where their next cup of coffee is coming from" . . .