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By Abby Sandel of Appellation Mountain

Styles change.

In hemlines and hairdos, in music and cuisine and baby names, too.

Once upon a time, Mildred was a Top Ten name in the US.  Clarence, Connie, Randy, Dawn, Eugene, Norman, Norma, Crystal, Dustin, Myrtle, and Elmer have all ranked in the Top 50 names at one point or another.

It can take years for a name to transition from emerging trend to solidly established choice.  But this week’s baby name news highlights many of the changes happening now.

Change is constant, but some of the outcomes are fresh and new, and it is too soon to say which names will catch on.  Will Americans embrace truly gender neutral names?  Are noun names mainstream?  Should you double-check the spelling on every single name, no matter what?

Read on for nine baby names in the news, and what they might signal for the next generation of children.

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Some stylish baby names in Appellation Mountain‘s Abby Sandel’s Nameberry 9.

When I heard that Lily Allen was expecting a second child, my heart skipped a beat.

I don’t know Lily Allen.  When her first baby arrived, I had to Google search to find out that she was a singer, and I’d never heard her sing until I headed to YouTube.

The British pop starlet turned television presenter made waves with her first daughter’s name, Ethel Mary, and I’ve followed her ever since.  She didn’t disappoint with her second daughter’s name, Marnie Rose.

What would you call Allen’s style?

I’m thinking “So Retro it Hurts.”  She chooses great names that few of us have the guts to use – yet.

We classify names as traditional or modern, classic or trendy.  But the truth is that everything goes when it comes names, and there are all sorts of styles and strategies to describe our approaches to naming children.

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Yesterday we did a rundown on the divide between the girls’ names that are stylish to the point where it feels like they must be popular and those that are actually, statistically widely used.  It’s especially hard to distinguish when it comes to the names we see appearing so often in berry posts and blogs.

So here we do a similar analysis for the boys, with some similarly surprising results, especially when it comes to those berry faves,…names such as Theo.  It’s easy to be fooled if you live in a place where there are more Atticuses than Aidens in your neighborhood playground.

Once again, the numbers in parentheses represent how many babies were given that name in the most recent U.S. Count.

Abner (162) is stylish, while Abraham (1,899) is popular

Ace (395) is cool; Chase (6,397) is hot

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Blond, Brunette, and Redhead Baby Names

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When I was expecting my first child, I wanted a name that meant “red” or “redhead” for a couple of unrelated reasons. First, I was looking for a name that referred to my maiden name Redmond, since the baby would have my husband’s last name. And I guessed (correctly) that we might be having a little redhead, since my hair is copper-y and my mother’s was bright red.

The name we chose for our daughter was Rory, one of many excellent names that either mean red or red-haired or connote the rich, bright color.

I was thinking of my own color-based name search when I created three of the newest lists on Nameberry: names for blond babies, brunettes, and redheads. Some of the choices are pretty straightforward while others make a sideways nod to the color: Jasper, a reddish stone, for a redhead, for instance, or Sable for a child with dark hair or skin.

Some of our favorites from the three groups:

REDHEAD BABY NAMES

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Baby Names 2010: The Hottest Trends

Baby Name Trends

What are as the hottest 2010 baby names trends?  Here, our 15 top picks:

MOST FASHIONABLE CONSONANT

L, by far, with the booming fashionableness of almost every L name for girls, and most especially those with two L sounds: Lila, Lola, Layla, Leila, Lily, Lillian, Delilah, Tallulah, even Lulu and Lucille.

NEW “IT” VOWEL

E, with Emma taking over from Emily (now number 3) at the top of the girls’ list, and a range of E names for both boys and girls rising through the ranks: Ethan, Eden, Eleanor, Emmett, Eli, Eliza, Elijah, Ella, Evan, Eva, Eloise, Evangeline, Elliot, Esme, et nearly al.

LATEST GENDER-BENDING TREND

Male-female name equivalents: Auden and Audrey, Isaiah and Isabella, Theo and Thea.  In fact, an association with a popular name of the opposite sex is enough to propel an unlikely choice to prominence: Edison on the coattails of Addison, for example, or Malachi hitching a ride with Makayla.

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