Do you have party clothes that have never been to a party? Play clothes that have never been out to play? Nicole Gorden of Vogue Patterns, speaking at G Street Fabrics' fashion show this week, says people shove most of their clothes to the back of the closet, preferring to wear a few favorites. "Women wear 20 percent of clothes 80 percent of time," she said. "And since the average woman spends $1,800 a year on clothes, that means that $1,300 are strictly hanger clothes, almost never worn."

No surprise, Vogue Patterns suggests the cure for this waste lies in custom-made clothes -- ones you make for yourself or have someone make for you, to get the fit, fabric and workmanship you want and will wear. "And you will get the clothes you want for much less money," says Gorden. She proved her point at the G Street show with a suit made from a Bill Blass Vogue pattern (No. 1957). In a shop the Blass suit cost $1,800; made by a dressmaker in Anglo wool it would cost $300; and if you make it yourself, $110. One Donna Karan dress costs $750 at retail; made from a pattern (Vogue pattern 1958) by a dressmaker, it would cost $170, sewn at home, $70.

To find good dressmakers or tailors, G Street Fabric suggests in its flier that you check a fabric store, dry cleaner or friends for names, then find out their specialties. Check for references to make sure work is delivered on time.


Basically the Same

"The creative process in menswear is totally nonexistent," says Oscar de la Renta, who has been designing men's clothes for years. "Men's clothes don't change. Unlike women's clothes, the changes from season to season are mere gimmicks."

"The basis of a man's wardrobe is the suit. But when people try to make big lapels, narrow lapels, it is total baloney and really boring. I mean if you have a good suit that is not an exaggerated suit, it lasts a long time. I have been wearing exactly the same suits for 20 years, you know." ---

Nancy Reagan's Awards Outing

Nancy Reagan has a lot of chums in the fashion business, but she rarely hobnobs with them, publicly or unofficially. She's making an exception to attend the Council of Fashion Designers Awards dinner at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York tomorrow night. She will present the CFDA Special Award to Brooke Astor, her good friend. Astor is being honored for her contributions to the city of New York plus her enormous sense of style and elegance.

Mrs. Reagan, honorary chairman of the evening, will have a hard time choosing what to wear to the dinner, the organizers of which include most of the American designers whose labels she wears. Among those expected at the dinner are Oscar de la Renta, Calvin Klein (who is getting an award), Bill Blass, Ralph Lauren, Geoffrey Beene, Pauline Trigere, Mary Ann Restivo and many more.

According to Elaine Crispen, the first lady's press secretary, Mrs. Reagan will probably bring two outfits to wear and make her choice at the last minute. "We usually don't know what she is going to wear until she appears in it," said Crispen. She says Mrs. Reagan is not worried about the politics of boosting one designer or offending the others with her choice. "The only way she could avoid that is by whipping up something herself," Crispen said with a laugh.

The $750-per-ticket dinner has been sold out for months. Proceeds from the dinner, underwritten by the Wool Bureau, will be used for the Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum. Besides Astor and Klein, designers receiving awards include Giorgio Sant'Angelo, Arnold Scaasi, Ronaldus Shamask, Manolo Blahnik and Marc Jacobs. CFDA Lifetime Achievement Awards will be given to designer Giorgio Armani, photographer Horst and fashion publicist and entrepreneur Eleanor Lambert. ---


Highly Suitable Appearances

One rarely thinks of television journalists investing as much in clothes as Wall Street bankers do. But the two are equal in current popular films. William Hurt, who is said to wear suits rarely, in "Broadcast News" wears a navy wool and silk pin-stripe suit jacket with pleated wool trousers from Ermenegildo Zegna, the prestigious Italian fashion house.

And Charlie Sheen, in "Wall Street," wears a single-breasted navy pin-stripe suit and several other suits in windowpane patterns and navy linen, also from Zegna. Hurt and Sheen are in good company. Prince Charles, King Juan Carlos of Spain, former chancellor of West Germany Helmut Schmidt, Luciano Pavarotti and others are among the Zegna clients. The firm also raises the sheep that provide wool for the papal robes worn by Pope John Paul II.


Notes de la Mode

The cosmetics industry functions largely out of high-gloss offices in New York. So when someone scores in the cosmetics business, even in a small way, out of Davidsonville, Md., it's worth learning more about. Linda Collinson, who has very sensitive skin, created Face & Body, a moisturizer made from natural oils, in her kitchen. It is made from oil cold-pressed from sweet almonds, and from steam-distilled fresh roses and primroses. It is carried in local health food stores, cosmetics centers and Giant pharmacies.

When the King of Thailand's 60th birthday was celebrated in Washington recently, the festivities included a fashion show of silk designs from the Jim Thompson company in Bangkok. No wonder. An American intelligence officer, Thompson created an important silk industry from Thailand's scattered craftsmen, matching modern technology and marketing smarts with native skills, before he disappeared mysteriously in 1967 in Malaysia's Cameron Highlands. Thai silks continue to be distinguished by their rich colors and sturdy construction.

More thoughts on what's IN and OUT from Doreen Davidson's art classes at Bannockburn Elementary and Seven Locks Elementary schools. On their IN list: Barbie dolls, Oprah Winfrey, Nintendo, body waves and velvet gowns. The equivalent OUTS: Cabbage Patch dolls, Phil Donahue, Atari, straight hair and balloon dresses.