VALLEY VOGUE / CINDY LaFAVRE YORKS : Short Is the Mane Attraction : * The cutting-edge look for the summer is a compromise between the bob and the Gomer Pyle craze. Braids are an option for those who keep it long.

Cindy LaFavre Yorks writes regularly about fashion and beauty for The Times.

Pop open any fashion magazine and most of the girls look like boys from the neck up. Short, even buzzed hair is the rage in hip, ultra-urban areas. But actually persuading the majority of Valley girls to go in for the Gomer Pyle look is something else again. While some take the plunge and opt for the newfangled pixie, most local trendsetters are striking a compromise.

"I've been doing the really short cuts for about six months, and women are still coming around for them, but the cutting-edge look for summer moving into fall is a great compromise between the bob and the really short cuts," explains Daniel Combs (yes, that's his real name), stylist at Syndicate in Encino. Combs, who recently trimmed Paula Abdul's hair in this new vogue cut, says the look is somewhat akin to the shag but with unruly, "fringe" style ends that may be directed upward or tucked under the hairline for the desired unkempt outcome.

When Combs' clients do decide on a really short style, the look is more rounded and face-framing than the waif cuts seen earlier this spring. "It's really more Deauville than anything," he says. Think Mia Farrow as F. Scott Fitzgerald's Daisy in "The Great Gatsby."

At Studio City's Chayo, Maria Casillas says she too is seeing an influx of really short hair, but says she is relieved that the long tresses that once typified the Valley girl look are finally disappearing from Ventura Boulevard--and not a moment too soon.

"They aren't as attached to their long, full hair as they used to be," she maintains. Still, there are trends available for those who keep long--but not necessarily over-voluminous hair. Two single braids, cascading delicately on each side of the head, are making headlines, Casillas says. "It's the Pocahontas look," says Lori Cola, stylist at M.J.F. Salon in Sherman Oaks. While only a few early trendoids are wearing them now, she predicts a bonanza of braids for summer. What better 'do to wear with the warm weather midriffs already in stores before June gloom even hits the skies?

IN STYLE LIKE FLYNN: Getting Nick Nolte's autograph is a much more daunting prospect than getting a shirt off of his back, thanks to Studio Wardrobe Services in (where else?) Studio City. This treasure trove of a shop serves as a liaison between the public and television and film studios anxious to unload wardrobe and accessories to recoup some of their initial investment. The store's merchandise spans the movie-making decades of the 20th Century. There is the waistcoat Errol Flynn wore in the 1948 film "The Adventures of Don Juan," with a price of $1,500. And the wearables from 1994's "Blue Chips," Nolte's latest film. A wide variety of television series apparel also ends up here, including fashions from ABC's "Roseanne" and HBO's "Dream On," says Elaine Vollmer, one of the shop's co-owners.

Perhaps the biggest surprise inside the shop is the incredible deals on designer clothing that is gently worn. A Claude Montana jacket and pant ensemble sells for just under $300, which would cost four or five times as much new in a department store. Unlike consignment stores, where merchandise may be worn for an entire season and could be a couple of years old or more, the stock is more current and less worn.

"It's the bargains that really bring people in," Vollmer says. Basketball players may beg to differ. One of Studio Wardrobe Services' few permanent exhibits is the uniform worn by basketball legend Shaquille O'Neal in the aforementioned Nolte film. So long is the 7-foot, 1-inch player's jersey that Vollmer had to drape it over a balcony to fully display it.

FAKE BAKE: The hardest thing about getting a faux tan is applying the tanning cream evenly without getting it all over towels and clothes. If you simply can't be bothered, leave it to the professionals.

At Skin Spa in Encino, where bronzing services have been offered for about five years, employees "tan" about six to seven clients a day. Three levels of service are available: an application of tanning milk, combined with 30 minutes of massage, is $35. Add the "salt glo" (exfoliating treatment) and an extra 30 minutes, and the fee is $75. A three-part miniseries of treatments, for $120, extends over a three-day period. The series consists of a single "glo" and massage with tanning milk on the first day, followed by two days of additional tanning milk massages. As with any self-tanning preparations, results are best when hair removal procedures precede the treatments. Maintenance is needed every three to four weeks, to keep that "just vacationed" look fresh.

For those who'd rather self-tan, there is a crop of self-tanning products that are much improved over what you may remember about them from the '60s. For starters, you can now choose a formula that will deliver the level of color you want, in shades ranging from light to medium. Many are oil free, some come in mousse or spray form and others are formulated specifically for either face or body. Clinique, Estee Lauder, Lancome, Clarins and Chanel are just a few department store cosmetic vendors who offer sunless tanning preparations designed for home use. Expect to pay between $12.50 and $27.50 for these. Drugstore brands such as Neutrogena, Physician's Formula, Coppertone and Bain de Soleil are among the popular--and somewhat less expensive--costing on average between $6 and $10.

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