10 In Getting Dressed/ Styling Tips/ Women Now

Building runaround outfits for days filled with casual activities

Wearing casual outfits
My Saturday runaround outfit

Do you have a uniform for when you’re out and about running around doing life? Are you a jeans and a sweater kind of person? Do you wear casual dresses, boots, and jean jackets to run errands?

Today’s post is all about running around outfits. In my life, most of my running around happens on the weekends. For some people who are retired, much of daily life could fit into this category. It’s a category that many women can get stuck in. They want to be comfortable, but still look respectable and put together. I’m all for that!

Sharing my professional life with colleagues

My colleagues love to see how I work with clients. This year at the MMB Retreat with fellow stylists and image consultants, I did a masterclass in one-one-work, how I style outfits in a client’s closet. I demonstrated how I style casual outfits, dressy outfits, and everything in-between while staying true to a client’s style words.

I love working in clients’ closets, merging new purchases with ones they’ve had forever, and charting each outfit. That way they can do life without having to think about clothes at all. Every detail they need to know about their outfits is written down in a wardrobe chart.

Revealing what happens in the closet with Veronica

My lovely client Veronica was my model for the masterclass. She’s a woman in her 70’s and very active. She lives in Mill Valley, just this side of the Golden Gate Bridge. Much of her life is spent going to dinner, theater, and lectures in San Francisco, which is just a few minutes from her house. San Francisco is a cosmopolitan city if you don’t count the tech community. (Think jeans and hoodies for the techies.)

Styling Session with Veronica
Erin and I introduce Veronica to the MMBers

But much of her life is spent running around Mill Valley, which is a more casual, rustic town tucked into looming redwoods at the base of Mount Tamalpais.

Every time I make an outfit and Erin charts it on Veronica’s wardrobe chart, I ask the question: “Where will you wear this?” Often the answer is, “I could wear this running around Mill Valley.” So in 2010, we created the term running around Mill Valley as shorthand for this casual category of outfits.

Running around Mill Valley outfits

So what comprises her “running around Mill Valley” activities? Appointments, going to the library, breakfast with her wonderful husband, Richard, meeting friends in downtown Mill Valley for lunch. Two of her four daughters live in Mill Valley so on some days she’s running around collecting grandkids from schools and taking them to afternoon activities, picking them up, coming home and baking with them. It’s also going to the grocery store, picking up dry cleaning or repaired shoes from Tony’s.

These outfits are casual but not sloppy, and they’re always accessorized.

Details of a run around Mill Valley outfit

In this picture from last week at the retreat, Veronica is wearing a velvet jean from J.Jill in boxwood green, a boxwood green J.Jill vest over a white shirt and a scarf around her neck to keep the chill away. Mill Valley is often foggy and colder than any other part of Marin County. She wears a crossbody Rebecca Minkoff bag in a color that’s close to boxwood. Leopard flats add some fun.

My running around Saturday activities

I thought about Veronica this weekend when I got dressed to run around Marin County. My Saturday was starting with a 10 a.m. gathering in San Anselmo of my 7&7 friends in our spiritual group that’s been meeting monthly for about thirty years. We take turns meeting at each other’s homes.

After that, I was meeting a friend for coffee at Good Earth in Fairfax, which is an iconic health food grocery store in a space that was Lucky’s supermarket. (Large.) It has indoor and outdoor seating for people getting coffee drinks, smoothies, lunch, or dinner from their big takeout sections of warm and cold prepared food.

Debra and I met for lattes and caught up on life, got hungry and decided to grab lunch from the hot bar and lingered even longer.

Details of my running around outfit

I was dressed comfortably in my J.Jill full-legged jeans with the tuxedo stripe down the side. I wore my red cashmere sweater and my navy crinkle long topper that’s been in my life forever. It certainly adds style to my casual jean outfit.

It was a sneaker kind of day. I wanted something happy on my feet so I chose my Play Comme des Garcon lace-ups with the heart faces peeking out.

Feeling on the fun side, I added my Sol Sisters beaded necklace with the feather dangling from the end. That necklace always makes me smile.

When I left my friend Debra, I stopped by my studio apartment, which I hadn’t been in since the week before seeing Dad for the last time in Minnesota. (A tear just appeared). It was nice to be reminded of my creative, “me” place. I visited the ladies at SAX Consignment, stocked up on some chocolate from the backroom and headed back to Sonoma.

Thinking about my next running around with Viv outfit

This Saturday outfit would be a great babysitting outfit for me. I’d have to take the necklace off while playing with Viv. But I could keep it on as we stroll to M&H Bakery and Cafe for breakfast and a cold Josie coffee. Which, actually, I’m doing tomorrow. Viv and I are meeting another friend who’s a gramma too! Good times ahead.

MMB Retreat
Viv visited the Veronica fashion show at the MMB Retreat

So what goes into your running around outfits? Do you accessorize them? How? Let me hear all about your casual life and the outfits you’re wearing while you live it!


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  • Reply
    February 18, 2020 at 6:21 am

    Dear Brenda,
    In rural New Mexico, my running around outfit has always been jeans and a tee shirt, with vest! Luckily, I have learned from following your blog to add interesting accessories: scarves, jewelry, and colorful glasses.
    Thank you for your inspiration, and thank you for sharing the beautiful photo of your granddaughter. She is adorable!
    Heartfelt condolences over the passing of your father. My pop has been gone for twelve years and there is still a hole in my heart! Girls and their dads, eh?

  • Reply
    February 18, 2020 at 6:48 am

    I donot really have a running around outfit!I think I own one pair of JEANS which I donot like!
    I’m in color from head to toe usually a BRYN WALKER two to three piece outfit it just works for me.
    At the moment my closet is being EN-LARGED so we will see how that changes my attitude towards dressing!
    VIV is adorable………………XX

  • Reply
    February 18, 2020 at 6:53 am

    Hi Brenda
    I feel like most of us dress that way 90% of the time most days. That Viv is a cutie. You are lucky she will sit still while you have coffee …enjoy that while you can. Little Summer is done with the stroller! I am so sorry to hear about your dad. My condolences.

  • Reply
    Elaine @ Following Augustine
    February 18, 2020 at 11:59 am

    As an active retiree, I wear a “casual, but not sloppy” runaround outfit most of the time. It usually consists of jeans and either a sweater or a top with a third piece. At this time of year, since I’m in Canada, footwear is usually moccasin slippers at home and either ankle or tall boots whenever I leave the house. Accessories? Always! At the very least, earrings but usually more. I want my outfits to say classy, but casual, comfortable, confident, and creative.

  • Reply
    February 18, 2020 at 12:03 pm

    My running around outfits, in all but 1 season, are jeans and a sweater with a scarf to accessorize. Scarves are my weakness. In the summer I often wear jeans with a tee on mild days, but swap out the jeans for skirts when the temps heat up. You know how warm Co Co County can get in the summer. I do not wear shorts anymore because my skin has gotten crepe-y, so skirts provide the necessary air flow for relief from the heat. I need to find some jewelry to accessorize those summer tees. 🙂
    Lucky grandma… baby Viv is adorable!

  • Reply
    Julia Purtill
    February 18, 2020 at 2:49 pm

    Dear Brenda, I love that phrase “running around outfit” because we all need those! It’s slim jeans and a button down for me in winter with a vest if it’s really cold. In Houston it doesn’t get that cold! Summer is kaki, black, or white crop pants and a 3/4 length sleeve top. I try to protect my thin skinned forearms! Does anyone else have that problem?! Flats or tennies are my footwear. I need a new shoulder strap purse but can’t find what I’m looking for! I would love for you to address different purse styles some day!

  • Reply
    Sandra Sallin - Apart From My Art
    February 18, 2020 at 4:49 pm

    OK, this is embarrassing. I love wearing my jogging pants and oversized hoody from Costco! I love comfy soft clothes.. I do wear my Apple watch and Sobral bracelets. So I’ve got a bit of style and if you’re lucky I will have put on my makeup also! PS. I made an IGTV video so you can see how I put on lipstick so I don’t have thin lined lips.

  • Reply
    February 26, 2020 at 7:16 am

    I love Veronica’s best outfit!! So cool, so relevant and so Saturday appropriate.
    I also love the velvet top that you chose to to hang out with precious Vic in. So grandma soft and yet so mentoringly stylish for your young granddaughter.
    You always send us treats for the eye and great aha moments for our closets!
    Thank you!
    Liz from CT and now FL too!

  • Reply
    February 26, 2020 at 7:18 am

    That should be Vest outfit.

  • Reply
    February 26, 2020 at 7:29 am

    So sorry for the spellcheck misrepresentations. I meant Veronica’s VEST and of course baby VIV. My apologies.

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