The year 1996 witnessed a landmark in the analysis of linguistic style and in so doing exemplified an important aspect of what has motivated John R. Rickford’s entire professional career: a commitment to bringing together interested and committed scholars representing different points of view to tackle perplexing problems—and to tackle them collaboratively. The 1996 perplexing problem was style—‘a pivotal construct in the study of sociolinguistic variation,’ and he and Penny Eckert organized a workshop that aimed to ‘stimulat[e] discussion that would set new directions for future work on style in variation’ (2001e: 1). Sponsored by the National Science Foundation and stretching the boundary of most sociolinguistic thinking at the time, the workshop’s participants came from anthropology, psychology, communication, and linguistics, and the carefully orchestrated mix contributed to a marked broadening of conceptions of style. Introducing the published volume arising from the workshop, Rickford and Eckert (2001e: 1) wrote, ‘In spite of the centrality of style… we [sociolinguists] have focused on the relation between variation and the speaker’s place in the world, at the expense of the speaker’s strategies with respect to this place,’ and, they added, ‘as social theories of variation develop greater depth, they require a more sophisticated, integrative treatment of style that places variation within the wider range of linguistic practices with which speakers make social meaning,’ Along with many papers and books published elsewhere, the chapters in this Style section illustrate the fruits of the 1996 workshop and its continuing reach.