This supposedly correct answer is not working for me.
And without seeing your issue, nobody can tell you a solution that helps you in your individual issue (which is probably completely different from the original problem). Please create a new thread first.
"How do you align a variable width stroke?" I appreciate it. But the answer to my question is, "Illustrator can't do it".
Illustrator can't flatten one side of a variable width stroke to a path/shape contour and displace the width profile to the other side. It should be able to, but it can't.
Also, defining the starting point of a variable width profile on a closed path should be easy to do. It's impossible, set in stone from the first anchopoint.
Imagine the goal is to produce clean, non overlapping paths. Now imagine that you have thousands of shapes to sylize.
Obviously there are tedious workarounds for everything, shown here via screenshot. (details in captions).
So the captions I was prompted to add arent' visible? Ughh...
Another solution to this problelm would be an "Expand Unobscured Appearance" function which would outline the visible portions of the stroke and "Minus Back" where necessary.
If I understand you correctly: Why not just assign the fill and variable stroke to the group - and drag the stroke under the fill in the hierarchy of the Appearance panel?
If that's what the goal was, I would've stopped at image one and bypassed frustration altogether. 🙂
Clean non-overlapping colors (technically not paths, sorry) with controlled variable width stroke is my goal.
Your stroke profile in the first pic is something like 1 here. Why not make a version like 2.?
Brilliant! And it was right in front of me the whole time. Good lesson too. If you run out of options with the operation, work with the element that it immediately interfaces with.