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Baby Name Trends: Sleek, simple, cool names

cool baby names

By Pamela Redmond Satran

People often ask us how we come up with our baby name trend predictions.

The short answer: It’s a mix of science and inspiration, with a dash of magic.

One of our major predictions for baby names 2015, for instance, was a trend toward short, simple names.  The basis for this prediction was scientific: These names are now stylish and popular throughout Europe, and the names themselves are both fresh and easily translated to the American culture.

But now suddenly we see that trend for sleek, cool names really taking off, and here’s where the magic comes in.  First, early this morning, we noticed extremely positive comments on the Nameberry pages for both Jude and Lux, perfect examples of this kind of short, modern, stylish name.

And then, just as we were beginning to compile a list of similar names we saw as fitting the same attractive mold, we opened the New York Times magazine to read about a hot new clothing company called Kit and Ace, named for two prototypical millennials who personify the cutting-edge brand.

In the baby name trend predicting world, three influences like this from three different sources — international statistics, grass-roots comments, and the fashion world — add up to a bona fide trend.

And then a fourth item drove the idea home: Abby Sandel’s Monday column right here on Nameberry, discussing all the new celebrity baby names that fit the short, simple trend.

Here, our picks for baby names that embody this major trend toward sleek, simple, cool names.  Most of these move beyond traditional choices such as Bill and Anne but stop short of being word names or nature names such as Wren or Snow (though there are selections here that veer toward both the traditional and the nature categories).  But the best of them, to our mind, live somewhere in the middle.

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royal baby names

By Abby Sandel, Appellation Mountain

Will and Kate are expecting a prince or princess in 2015, but there could be thousands of royal births in the coming year.

Confused?

Nameberry’s 2015 trend report started with Defining Names – names that create a clear and powerful identity.

A great many of those identities are clad in purple and ermine – tiny royals, with names to declare they rule.

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On-trend names

By Abby Sandel, Appellation Mountain

Do you remember those fifteen trend predictions for 2015 posted about a month ago?  And the trend-spotting from the UK, courtesy of Elea?

It’s only been a few weeks, but it feels like high profile parents are following along.  Recent birth announcements all reflect the kinds of baby names we expect to hear throughout 2015.

Even if you aren’t crazy about the individual names, there’s some good news here.  Parents seem to be losing their fear of giving a “girl” name to a boy.  Is it possible that names like Kelly will once again be wearable for our sons?

The rise of short, simple names is another one that will please parents eager to avoid nicknames.  Welcome to the world, Tom-not-Thomas, Tess-not-Theresa, and this week’s celebrity entry in the category, Cy, not Cyrus or Cyril or Silas.

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British baby names

The Top 100 names of England and Wales are resplendent with choices that feel a lot more chic and surprising in the US than they must in the UK.

Freya, for instance, the Norse goddess name that’s become a Top 20 staple on the other side of the pond, just cracked the US Top 1000.  Florence, which has been stylish in the UK for decades now and still stands at Number 29, fell off the US Top 1000 in 1982 and has yet to reappear.  Harriet is Number 61 in the UK while it hasn’t been on the US Top 1000 since the 1970s, while Martha stands at Number 73 in the UK and rising yet is at 803 and sinking in the US.

The boys’ Top 100 in the UK includes names such as Arthur, Freddie and Frederick, Louis, and Stanley that rank much lower in the US.

Below the UK Top 100, it’s impossible to quantify baby name trends as statistics don’t exist.  Instead, we must rely on anecdotal evidence: What fashionable young parents in Shoreditch and Swansea are naming their babies, compared with names considered stylish in Soho (the New York one) and Silver Lake.  While there are some similarities — fashionable parents on both sides of the pond love Iris and Oscar, Ada and Arthur — there are many fascinating differences in taste.

Our prime examples of names that are more stylish on the UK side of the pond than the US:

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Future Top 10 names

By Abby Sandel, Appellation Mountain

We’re just days away from the new year!  As 2014 draws to a close, plenty of websites and hospital systems have released their top baby names for the past twelve months.

At Nameberry, Asher, Declan, and Atticus topped the boys’ list, while Imogen, Khaleesi, and Charlotte were favorites for girls.

The official 2014 US data doesn’t come out until May 2015.  But this early information lets us read the tea leaves and guess – or hope! – which names might come out on top when we see the official numbers in a few months.

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