Pura vida. Literally, it means “pure life.” In Costa Rica, pura vida is a way of life. A phrase that is action-based. A directive to live freely, simply, compassionately. Folks say it as a greeting, a response, a goodbye. I haven’t been to Costa Rica, but friends tell me that its laid-back vibe is hypnotic and transformative, a tropical paradise just a short flight away.

We wanted to bring a bit of that Caribbean ethos into our annual Spring Style issue. As I write this letter, I’m cloaked in coat and scarf, our early warmth shocked by a cold snap. A little summer dreaming never hurts, and we hope our 10 color-packed pages take you there—or prompt you to book that flight (see “Pura Vida,” page 78).

While fashion is an aspect of style, it isn’t the whole story. It’s a reflection of desire, of who we want to be as much as what we want to show. As Gore Vidal puts it, “Style is knowing who you are, what you want to say, and not giving a damn.” I also believe that’s a little bit of the pure life—walking your own path, speaking your own truth.

Caroline Caldwell-Richmond is like a stylist of ideas. As curator and director of the program team of TEDxGreenville, she fashions a day-long event of speakers and performers, each on a unique path, working in different fields, filling distinct shoes, representing disparate backgrounds. The point of this event, like a fashion show, is to enlighten, inspire, and encourage the audience to engage in new ideas. Instead of bearing beautiful threads, though, these presenters bear their souls. They are challenged to open up in the spirit of connection—knowing, as Vidal said, who they are, what they want to say, and not giving a damn (see “Soul to Soul,” page 52).

Style, like pura vida, is a way of life, and fashion is its translation. As Coco Chanel sums it: “Dress shabbily, and they remember the dress; dress impeccably, and they remember the woman.” Words to live by.


Blair Knobel


Twitter / Instagram: @LBKNOBEL