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Category: cool baby names 2011

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How would you describe your favorite name style?, asked a recent Nameberry Question of the Week. Do you prefer cool names?  Classic?  Stylish?  Or what?

Which put me in mind of trying to characterize my own name style.  You might think that we at Nameberry were born knowing our personal name styles, since we’ve made a life’s work of classifying names into styles and helping other people figure out what kinds of names they love.

But like the shoemaker’s child, I’d never really defined my own name style until Linda posted this question.  I definitely like vintage names, I decided, along with names that are a bit unusual.  Cool names, but not too cool.  Classy, yet quirky.

And then the right term for it came to me: Eccentric Aristocrat.   You know, the kind of names that might belong to madcap lords and exotic baronesses (baronessi?) dashing around the countryside in yellow roadsters, drinking champagne and weekending at castles.

Yes, it’s a little bit British, but it’s also kind of Eurotrash and pretty F. Scott Fitzgerald and Edith Wharton sophisticated American too.   Eccentric Aristocrat names hint at a Russian count as a grandfather, a Scottish pile as an inheritance, ancient relatives who have to be honored with highly unfashionable names – except now that you think about it, those names are actually kind of cool.

Regular readers of Nameberry will recognize the Eccentric Aristocrat in many of the names that, not coincidentally, are favorites on this site: Violet and Jasper, Flora and Felix.  Those are the kinds of names that I’d choose for my own children.  (The fact that I didn’t choose those kinds of names for my own children is another story, one that starts with my husband’s name style being more Solid Midwestern than Eccentric Aristocrat.)

A few rules on what makes a name an Eccentric Aristocrat:

1.   It must be rooted in tradition, but not traditional. So: Circe yes, Charles no.   Edward no, Edgar yes.

2.   It must have a distinct gender identification, but not a conventional one. The name Inigo is clearly male, while India plainly female.   Yet Inigo might just as well design clothes as play football, and India seems as appropriate a name for an international financier as for a supermodel.

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Cool Baby Names: The -Er Names

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See all our lists of cool baby names here.

Cool baby names often share a certain something: an initial (like O), an origin (like Irish), or a sound — like -er at the end.

Blame it on Jennifer and Christopher. What those two mega-popular names have in common is their unusual –er ending, which launched a name sound that holds a lot of appeal to the contemporary ear.

Dozens of the cool baby names for boys today share the –er ending, along with a handful of choices for girls. Some of these are traditional first names but more are surname-names and occupational names.

Of course, Jennifer and Christopher were not the only popular names or even the first to feature –er at their end. Long-used –er names include Peter and Alexander, other trendy 1980s choices are Amber and Heather, and widely-used popular names that end in –er include such divergent choices as Oliver and Winter, Skyler and Spencer, River and Ryker, Harper and Hunter.

And then, as happens with name trends, there are dozens of choices that are more unusual and more stylish. Among the most appealing are the traditional boys’ names that share the –er ending:

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