CLOUT

There are ever so many briefcases these days: leather ones, aluminum ones, plastic ones, paper ones. Now there are wood ones, made of beech and available in natural (pictured here), teak or mahogany finishes. The interior is lined with leather, the exterior is coated with lacquer and the whole attache case, while quite hefty, cuts an impressive swath.

Beech attach,e cases. Approximate prices: small, $160; medium, $180; large, $200. Available at Dolly Kay Design Ltd., 5232 44th St. NW.; Zenith Gallery, 1441 Rhode Island Ave. N.W.; Arlington Printers and Stationary, Inc,. 2601 Columbia Pike, Arlington. THE NEW YOU

It is one of those

mornings: you are allowed to feel moody, stand-offish and recalcitrant.

Garbo might wear a slouch hat, Liz would wear a turban, you will wear your headdress. It's so much easier than lining up corn rows or grappling with the electric curlers. The beaded, braided designs come in many colors and with many different types of ornamentation, including shells. This is how Cleopatra faced the world: now it's your turn.

Headdresses. $24. Tapestry Imports, 11301 Rockville Pike, Kensington. 770-7775. ABOUT TIME

These are the '80s; this is no time for the sands through the hourglass or the tacky ticking of an old- fashioned egg timer. This is the era of the Italian liquid timer, in which a beautiful stream of vivid color floats through clear liquid and when its journey is complete, five minutes have elapsed. Do not be swayed by the fact that these 1980s-style sleek timers are available at a store with a name right out of the 1960s.

Liquid timers. $9.50. Transcendence-Perfection- Bliss of the Beyond, 3502 Connecticut Ave. N.W. 363- 4797. WHO'S IN CHARGE?

What politician reminds his colleagues of a student council president? Whose record argues strongly against the charge that he is a bumpkin? You may have several answers to the first question, and no answers to the second, but the book Politics in America has the answers and more. It includes candid assessments of all 535 members of Congress as well as statistical profiles and biographical information about members and up-to-date descriptions of congressional districts. Suggested audiences for this book? Lobbyists, hosts in search of prestigious dinner guests, executives newly arrived in town -- and plain old political junkies.

Politics in America 1986. $29.95. D.C. residents add 6% sales tax; Va. residents add 4% sales tax. Congressional Quarterly Inc., 1414 22nd St. N.W., Washington, D.C. 20037.