Stylish might mean popular…but not necessarily. More precisely, it means names that strike the right fashion note for the times, that are in today, and may be even more in tomorrow.
Like Pottery Barn furniture or J. Crew clothes, stylish baby names often combine freshness, quality, and broad appeal. It’s a difficult balance to strike, and no wonder that some of the names that achieve this magic mix go on to be adopted by many — some might say too many — parents.
The stylish boys’ names here are among the best in their class. Any would make a handsome choice for a contemporary baby boy.
August has been heating up in Hollywood—used by Mariska Hargitay, Lena Olin, Dave Matthews, and Jeanne Tripplehorn, (and by Garth Brooks for his daughter), and is rapidly becoming the preferred month of the year for boys. The month of August was named after the Emperor Augustus.
There have been at least four fourth- and fifth-century St. Cassians, one of whom is the patron saint of (not many of them left) stenographers. John Cassian was a monk and ascetic writer who introduced Eastern monasticism into the West.
Patrick Wilson used the alternate spelling Kassian for his son.
The name of four popes and sixty-seven saints, Felix has long been fashionable in upscale London and is rapidly becoming a Nameberry fave. The name was first adopted by the ancient Roman Sulla, who believed that he was especially blessed with luck by the gods. Gillian Anderson and Elizabeth Banks are two modern celebrities who chose Felix for their baby boys. A notable namesake is Felix Frankfurter, a long-term Supreme Court Justice.
Finn is a name with enormous energy and charm, that of the greatest hero of Irish mythology, Finn MacCool (aka Fionn mac Cuumhaill), an intrepid warrior with mystical supernatural powers, noted as well for his wisdom and generosity.
Finn is rising fast through the charts and is a Nameberry favorite—and is also (go figure) the fourth most popular name in Germany. After entering the U.S. pop list in 2000, Finn has moved up every year since, now at Number 291.
Griffin is one of the newer and most appealing of the two-syllable Celtic surnames (also the name of a mythological creature, half-eagle, half-lion). It entered the list in 1983 after an absence of 75+ years, and has been climbing ever since, now at Number 220. Brendan Fraser, Teri Polo and Joey McIntyre all chose Griffin for their sons.
Also worth considering: the original classic Welsh Griffith.
Hart could be the hero of a romantic novel, but on the other hand, it’s short, straightforward, and strong sounding. The most famous bearer of the name was tragic poet Hart (born Harold) Crane, but it also has musical cred via Lorenz Hart, of the classic Rodgers & Hart songwriting duo and a literary tie to playwright Moss Hart.
Hart would make an interesting middle name choice—with heart.
Jasper has a lot going for it—in the past years it shot up 112 places and is still rising, after long being considered a hip and charming name in England. Distinctly masculine, Jasper represents a variety of quartz—one of the few gem names for boys—and is the first name of the great modern artist Jasper Johns. Our only caveat: Jasper is a favorite of a lot of hip parents, and will also be picked up through its strong appearance in the Twilight books and movies.
Jasper is the usual English form for one of the three Wise Men who brought gifts to the infant Christ according to medieval tradition, and appears in the Bible as a reference to the stone itself in Revelations 4:3.
Can Linus lose its metaphorical security blanket and move from the Peanuts page onto the birth certificate? We think it has enough charm and other positive elements going for it for the answer to be yes, and many other parents are starting to agree.
In Greek myth, Linus is both a musician and poet, the inventor of rhythm and melody who taught music to Hercules. In the Christian era, Linus was the name of the second pope, Saint Peter’s successor, while in modern times chemist Linus Pauling was awarded the Nobel Prize twice.
Well-known Romans include director Polanski (born Raimund), Polish photographer Vishniac, and onetime star quarterback Gabriel. Francis Ford Coppola has a son named Roman, who is a director now himself.
Sullivan is a jaunty Celtic three-syllable name, with a real twinkle in its eye. It was immortalized in the 1930s classic film Sullivan’s Travels and was chosen for one of Patrick Dempsey’s twin boys. Nickname Sully is equally jaunty, while Van picks up on the name’s sleek side.
The third most common surname in Ireland, Sullivan’s heritage dates back to the third century. Countless distinguished surnamed Sullivans include Sir Arthur, half of composing team Gilbert & Sullivan, Helen Keller’s teacher Annie, Chicago architect Louis, early boxer John L. and dour columnist/TV emcee Ed.
For more amazing names for boys, get your copy of The Nameberry Guide to the Best Baby Names for Boys, available now in ebook or paper.