They have benched the jerseys numbered 3 to 89 out at Redskin Park. Not the players, mind you, just the jerseys, the pants and the socks. They also have slightly adjusted the helmet decals.

For the first time in 10 years, the Redskins have revised their uniforms, and the new color scheme has a distinct Kansas City Chiefs look.

"Well," said Rodskin General Manager Bobby Beathard, who penciled out the original changes. "I thought the (old) uniforms were pretty drab, that they could be improved. It was a persohenal thing but I knew a lot of others agreed with me."

His $11,400 "improvement," the cost of replacing 230 jerseys and 160 pairs of pants, trades the gold pants for white, which will be worn at home. The pants will be burgundy on the road.

"Most of all, I hated the gold pants with dark burgundy jerseys," Beathard said. Numbers on the new jerseys are outlined in gold. Stripes on the sleeves and down the sides of pants are fewer and broader. Socks have broader stripes, too.

Joe Korn, the team's equipment manager, discovered a wrinkle in the helmet design only when a caller on a call-in radio program complained the decals "looked sloppy." He found new ones that adhere better to the helmets. The complexion of the Indian will be more red on the new decal.

Before the final decision was made on the new uinform, Korn had a seamstress check the workmanship of the stretch nylon warp knit jersey and nylon Spandex warp knit pants sampled from four suppliers.

And Carriage House Cleaners in Silver Spring test washed the garments to make sure they would survive the pre-soaking and washing after each game.

Beathard, who says he never has put his hand to the Redskinettes costumes, figures youngsters will just have to buy new jerseys if they expect to mirror the Redskin versions exactly. "But the new ones won't really be all that different from the old," he said.

Uniform changes, which must be approved by National Football League Properties, are rarely tackled in this business.

Aside from helmet changes, the last major Redskin costume change was 18 years ago. From the start in 1939, the Redskins wore gold pants and eithe burgundy or white jerseys. In 1952, white pants and jerseys were adopted (along with red socks) for the road.

In 1961, they traded the white pants for gold for both home and away games. Three years later they brightened the burgundy and added burgundy trim to the white jerseys worn for away games. In 1969, they shined up the gold pants and brightened the burgundy jerseys as well.

Beathard, who tilts to bell-bottom jeans, running shoes and occasional Calvin Kein sweaters for himself, just missed the Oct. 1 deadline for uniform changes last fall. Since the changes were minor, they were accepted for the 1979 season.He has a plot to simplify the decoration on the helmet, but that will have to meet a stricter deadline next year if he decides to go through with it.

If the players weren't mad for the new uniforms at first, they seem to like them now."They may get awfully dirty, but I think they are nice," says Dan Nugent, an offensive guard.

Linebacker Brad Dusek admits he resisted them at first. "But the more I see them, the more I like them. The white pants are great, as long as I don't have to wash them." Then he added philosophically, "It's like when a government changes. You have to have a whole clean sweep."

Will the uniform changes sweep in some winning plays? Beathard isn't sure. "When you've been in the same thing for so long and you bring in something new, sometimes it perks people up."

Clearly, he's hoping so.

Nina Hyde is the fashion editor of The Washington Post .