Wonder no longer. The lists are in. Or out depending upon your view. The IN and OUT lists, that is. Compliments of that high-fashion, high-society, very IN journal, ''W,'' published by the makers of Women's Wear Daily.
Regular as a milktrain, or shall we say the spring pret-a-porter showings in Paris, the ''W'' list appears to enlighten and enliven the final gray days of winter.
There is undoubtedly some segment of society in which this annual listing does not raise even so much as an eyebrow. But presumably those are the circles that live by the cycles of spring seed catalogs. Everyone else, one assumes, is hastening to shed the proclaimed OUTS as a horse would its winter coat. Sleek, chic, and very IN, we can safely approach the coming spring.
But be prepared for a shock. If we all play by the rules, 1983 will look ravingly different from last year. For example, quiche is now back IN. Which is presumably good news for all those little cafes that never had the heart to take it off their menus when it started losing ground to pasta a few years back. Pasta is still IN, as is any Italian food. And if you want to get downright specific, garlic is also IN, as is ''first-press olive oil, available only in January.''
All this talk of food brings up another IN or rather an OUT. Being ''obsessed with weight'' or ''being too thin'' is definitely OUT. We don't have to add that that is presumably good news to the majority of people everywhere. It also has ramifications for aerobic dancing, jogging with a Walkman, muscle building, and leg warmers, all of which are OUT.
Of course this means that we will be eating different things. No more julienned vegetables, raw fish, and bean sprouts. No siree. Carbohydrates is the motto du jour. And that means that potatoes, pancakes, and even, dare we say it, desserts are back in vogue. The list goes on and on: hamburgers, corn on the cob , and popcorn (''without butter or salt'') are all IN again. The fact that Mom and apple pie have been left off the list must only be an oversight. Jingoism appears to be in style. Yes, ''W'' says it plainly, ''New England Cuisine,'' Yankees, and WASPS are IN.
And not only New England, but anything and everything English appears to be IN as well: Claridge's, Fortnum and Mason's, Wellington boots, Sloane Rangers, English garden books, English food. So are cashmere sweaters and Donegal tweeds , presumably needed to walk the retrievers which are also IN as far as animals go. Staying home is IN. But so are trips to India. And forays into Venice. But only in the winter. Venice is very OUT during the summer, says the journal. So is Ireland.
Yet other than eating loads of desserts and wearing lots of woolens and not going to certain exotic countries, how will we really know who is IN and who is OUT? There are certain tell-tale signs, assures ''W.'' Check their gloves - cashmere are IN, gauntlet type are OUT. Check their eyeshadow - gray is IN, purple is OUT. Do they wear cuffs? Then they are IN. How about a home computer? Yes, definitely IN. But choose wisely, we're talking ''American computer systems ,'' and most assuredly not video games or really anything with the word video in it. Any woman wearing a tuxedo and lip gloss is certainly suspect, but if she has ''short tousled hair,'' or a ponytail or even gray hair, she is IN beyond a doubt.
Places to go to be IN? There are loads - New York City is always IN. As is Los Angeles. And Japan. More good news for New Englanders, Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket are IN again. Which means that Fire Island and the Hamptons are, alas, OUT this year. And watch out whom you associate with at those IN spots. Actors Meryl Streep and Kevin Kline are of course IN. Robert Redford, Alan Alda, and even Jane Fonda are, unfortunately, OUT, as are ''books by actors who whine a lot.'' And nobody ''really cares if Frank Sinatra is in or out.''
Serious people are really IN. Paul Volcker, John Glenn, and Roger Mudd are all IN. So is George Shultz. Even Afghan guerrillas have made the IN list this year. And keeping to the serious vein, science is IN. Economics are IN. Even reading newspapers ''with gloves on,'' is IN. Let's get serious, says ''W,'' pro-football is finally OUT.
''What does this add up to?'' America may be wondering. Even ''W'' admits, ''IN lists'' are definitely OUT. But somehow if the fifties, pony tails, college football, staying home, and not spending money are all IN, the universe must surely be a saner place than when New Wave was IN. And any world that puts the stamp of approval on whale watching, bird watching, and, most of all, courtship deserves another chance.