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rosekatherine1

Our Berry Question of the Week comes from Jen Barnes of Seattle, who’s facing a common problem in Baby Name Land: She and her husband are having trouble agreeing on a name for their second daughter.  Here, the names he likes and those that she likes.  Your job, dear berries, is to help them find a name they both will love.  Jen writes:

Please help us name baby #2!  Our 2nd baby girl is arriving in 4 short weeks and she has no name!  Our 18-month-old daughter, Rose Katherine, was named the second we found out that she was a girl!  Every time I think I have some names narrowed down, I add one to the list.  My husband has been no help in this process either — ha.  Here are the names he likes:

Sarah

Shayla- he used to live in a city (spelled Xela) in Guatemala with this name and it is very dear to his heart but I am just not feeling it.

Nora

I love the name Nora but I fear that it is becoming too popular.  What do you think?

Here are my favorite names currently:

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Vintage Nicknames for Girls

vintagebetterhat

We love Hattie, the name Tori Spelling and Dean McDermott chose for their new baby girl.Hattie is one of the vintage nicknames for girls enjoying a new turn in the sun these days, on the path paved by such big sisters as Annie and Maggie.

It’s astonishing to think that Hattie – just Hattie, all by itself, not Harriet — was Number 27 in 1880, until you realize that many other short forms were among the top choices that year.  Minnie was all the way up at Number 5, Annie was Number 11, Nellie, 18, and Bessie, 23.  Other nicknames for girls in the Top 50 included Carrie, Jennie, Mattie, Jessie, and Fannie (and obviously, the ie ending was the popular one).

We see the full-fledged revival of this trend today, with Hattie a prime example of one of the vintage nicknames for girls that feel stylish, adorable, ready for a whole new generation of babies.

While choices like Ellie, Josie, and Sadie are already rising through the charts, what follows are our favorites of the next wave of cool vintage nicknames for girls.

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Old Man Names: Crusty or Cool?

Heidi_and_her_grandfather

Old Man Names are the new Old Lady Names.

They’re the next frontier of vintage names, we mean. Old lady names — from Beatrice to Violet, Florence to Eleanor — have been mostly cool and rarely crusty for several years now. As with other fashionable categories — Old Testament names for boys, say, or Irish names — parents seem to push continuously into new and braver territory, stopping just this side of Bertha.

But old man names have been a different story. Sure, you’d get a girl cutely called Sydney, or a boy named Harold the III — but always called Tripp. And Harvey and Stanley are very trendy in England — though Americans find that totally baffling.

Now, though, we think it’s time to take a fresh look at old man names. For boys, of course, and yeah, even sometimes for girls.

The first tier of Old Man Names are the Grandpa Names, some of them Biblical, that have become popular and have paved the way for their crustier brothers. In this group we’d include:

Caleb
Charley
Ethan
Henry
Jake

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nerd

When Jennifer Connelly and Paul Bettany recently named their newborn daughter Agnes, I was very excited.  For a baby name connoisseur, the choice of Agnes by two stylish and attractive stars heralded the arrival of a new kind of cool name: the slightly awkward, somewhat geeky name that’s so uncool it’s cool.

Of course, Geek Chic has been around for awhile now, in names as in other aspects of fashion.  In our book Beyond Ava & Aiden, we featured a category – now on Nameberry – of Clunky but Cool Names for boys and for girls.  (There are also more, similar choices on the lists of Old Lady Names and Old Man Names.  The list of Old People Names, taking off from the twitter sensation, is full of names that are terminally geeky.)

Some of these choices, like Hugo and Oscar for boys, for instance, and Imogen and Matilda for girls, sound a lot more cool than clunky these days.  As vintage names become more mainstream and our tastes broaden, names that seemed edgy just a few years ago now feel normal and pretty – pretty normal.

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girlbaby2

Today’s Question of the Week is a two-parter: 

Last week we talked about naming styles for boys, now it’s the girls’ turn.

  1. With girls’ names, there are even more style preference category possibilities.  How would you characterize the names you like best?  Girly girl, gender neutral, boyish?  Classic, biblical?  Vintage Old Lady?  Trendy, nouveau?  Family or surname names British-inflected, international?  Creative?  Quirky? Eclectic? Exotic? Good girls or bad girls?   (These are just a few suggestions–we’d love to have your own designations of your style.) 

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