I posted a brief reply, but wanted to expand my thoughts here.
My rural-village-living friend Gaye works part time as a costume designer in the film industry. At home in rural Ontario, she wears clothes that lift her out of the generic, country-mouse look yet fit the practical requirements of small-town life. Most can also be worn while working.
She is a classic dresser, loves scavenging in thrifts and consignment, and always looks like she spent a great deal more than she did.
Here are several "Gaye pieces":
J. Peterman Long Snowflake Sweater; price, $198. (Gaye would definitely belt it.)
|Nordic sweater coat|
She wears cords, but in non-standard colours like mallard blue or sequoia (shown) as well as the neutrals. (Shown: Talbot's straight leg cords, $70 and often on sale.) She would wear that with a basic turtle or crewneck...
|Nonstandard coloured cords|
Gaye also wears skirts in the country; one of her favourites is a decades-old Anne Klein leather a-line she found in a secondhand shop, paired with thick tights and boots. Here is a "Gaye skirt": Brora's fine check tweed midi, price, £169:
|Brora tweed skirt|
Gaye knows how to mix high and low. She likes the versatility of vests and adds one under a light coat or field jacket to add a colour zhuzh. (Shown, Land's End down vest, about $60). She would also wear it with the skirt, over a gray or cream turtleneck. Working with hues is way more interesting than exact coordination.
|LE down vest|
She spends time driving, and doesn't want to haul shoes here and there. She and I wear Blundstones: tough, perfect for all but the tallest drifts, and kick on/off. Gaye's are "Crazy Horse Brown", and she slips sheepskin insoles into them.
If she must swap, she tucks a pair of ballet flats in her bag.
Gaye said a coat she can wash is her ideal; she can't always get to a dry cleaner. Patagonia's Vosque 3-in-1 parka ($469) fits the bill: a zip-out liner, a waterproof outer shell, a hood, a versatile grey colour with its kick of violet shell, a shaped, feminine fit—and washable.
(She finds this a good price. On set, wardrobe people spend their working hours in coats and will spend nearly anything to be able to work in them.)
|Patagonia Vosque parka|
|Blue sapphire ring|
No such gems in your past? Not to worry; a ring like Jamie Joseph's blue sapphire cabuchon (13mm x 14mm) provides the punch.
And she carries a big, vintage doctor's satchel found in Edinburgh, but here is a similar one on Etsy:
|Call the doctor!|
A retired villager need not scamper about in dull clothes; she just has to cast her net a bit wider. And, Gaye would add, stay interested not so much in trends as in the joy of colour and the pleasure of good fabrics made into well-constructed pieces.