Great swings in fashion make little waves in Washington.While some men and women latch onto the latest trend, most chisel away cautiously at the old, refine the familiar and ease gently into the new. For menswear in particular, the Washingtonians who do it best wear clothes that are appropriate to the job or the occasion, clothes that make them stand out from the crowd but never turn heads.

There is plenty that is new in fall menswear. The built-up and broadened shoulder line, the scaled-down collars and lapels, the tapered silhouette -- all will be tried, but with moderation by those men who care about clothes.

Washington men will be reluctant to go overboard for the bright colors being used with some styles, so the textured high-quality fabrics such as the Harris tweeds, the wide- or narrow-wale corduroys, and the crisp gabardines are sure to score well. So will the new low-slung, double-breasted styles that enhance a broad shoulder and give a slim hip look.

Also bound to score are the two-piece suits, if for no other reason than the inducement of a $50 saving, a typical price for the vest of the three-piece variety. Those who want the three-piece look may prefer the option of wearing a sweater vest under a jacket.