Ask the Name Sage: A Sister for Charlie Layne

namesageWelcome to Nameberry’s newest column, The Name Sage. Every week, I’ll answer one reader’s questions about naming a baby-on-the-way, or general baby name angst. And here’s the best part: we’d love it if you would add your thoughtful suggestions and comments to help expectant parents decide. The world needs more nicely named children, berries! Want to see your question featured? Please email

Lindsay and her husband are expecting their second child, a little sister for Charlie Layne. They love Charlie’s name, and they’re trying to find something they like just as much for their daughter-on-the-way.

She writes:

We are currently struggling with whether to continue the borrowed-from-the-boys trend, which I know can nearly incite a riot! If we go for a girly name will one child feel left out?

Their current list includes Elliot, Even, Reese, and Finley, but also Lila, Lola, Stella, and Willa.

Lindsay adds: At this point it feels more like trying to “match” to our first daughter’s name rather than picking something we truly love.

Read on for my answer, and please add your thoughtful comments, too!

Hi Lindsay

Congratulations on your daughter-on-the-way!

Choosing a name for a second child is different. The name you gave to baby #1 rules out some possibilities, and suggests others. But no matter how many children you have, picking a name that you truly love always matters, even if it means your daughters answer to names that don’t immediately seem like an obvious match.

Because here’s the secret: there’s more than one way to match sibling names.

Charlie is a spunky, retro choice like Hattie or Sadie. And Charlie is a casual, breezy, nickname-name. While there are plenty of boys answering to Charlie, it’s a very mainstream choice for a daughter, too – Number 243 and rising as of 2013.

From your shortlist, the name that jumps out at me is Lola. Spunky, retro, nickname-proof. Check, check, check.

Stella, Lila, and Willa have some of those qualities, too. Another plus for Willa? It’s a feminine form of William, just as Charlie can be used as a feminine form of Charles.

Reese and Finley are actually more common for girls than boys, so they feel like sister names for Charlie. But Evan and Elliot head in the other direction – they’re far more popular for boys.

A few others to consider: surname names Rowan and Sloane, frills-free Wren, sassy, Southern Georgia, and vintage Della and Ruby.

There’s plenty of potential here: Ruby Sloane, Lola Wren, Stella Finley. But my favorite from your list is spunky WillaCharlie and Willa, Charlie Layne and Willa Reese.

But no matter what, go with the name that you love, even if it doesn’t immediately seem like a match. And please write us back and let us know what you choose!

Best wishes,

Abby, The Name Sage

Now let’s hear from some others: what would you name a sister for Charlie Layne?

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31 Responses to “Ask the Name Sage: A Sister for Charlie Layne”

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amidala01 Says:

April 2nd, 2015 at 12:55 am

I’m not sure if this bothers people or not, but there’s a very popular childrens’ TV show in Australia called Charlie and Lola, Charlie being the elder brother and Lola the younger sister. Just thought I’d let you know..

glitterandrocknroll Says:

April 2nd, 2015 at 1:31 am

I’d go with Willa Reese. Charlie and Willa make a really great sibset, in my opinion.

SarahKathryn Says:

April 2nd, 2015 at 4:29 am

^^I was going to say the same thing, it’s not only an Australian show, Charlie & Lola is a European one (and also books) – it’s on in many countries.

I second Willa Reese! I think it makes a great sibset with Charlie Layne!

WhiteGardenia Says:

April 2nd, 2015 at 8:47 am

“But no matter how many children you have, picking a name that you truly love always matters, even if it means your daughters answer to names that don’t immediately seem like an obvious match.” @namesage – Truly excellent advice. I strongly feel this way but you said it so well. So often I see NB parents struggling so hard to find a perfect match with siblings that they may discard names they love.

courttt83 Says:

April 2nd, 2015 at 9:19 am

LOVE the name Willa!!! That’s my daughter’s name. ❤

I think Charlie Layne and Willa Reese work really well together! Super trendy.

janeseemore Says:

April 2nd, 2015 at 9:35 am

Stella is my favorite with Charlie. I get a strong, spunky, flapper-girl vibe from the set. Some other ideas:


ispyabrownbair Says:

April 2nd, 2015 at 9:43 am

Although I’ve seen Charlie and Lola and I’m from the US, I still think Lola is my favorite to go with Charlie! I agree with the Name Sage on this one! 😉

BritishAmerican Says:

April 2nd, 2015 at 10:02 am

I immediately thought of the British book and TV series “Charlie and Lola” too. I’d personally avoid Lola for that reason, since paired with Charlie, it makes Charlie read “boy” to me.

I probably would be inclined to go more gender neutral with Reese or Finley from your list. Although Finley does repeat the -lee ending sound of Charlie. But you could have that as a fun tie-in. (But it could feel limiting if you have a 3rd daughter one day.) Finn would be a cute nickname and would avoid the repeated endings, if you wanted to do that.

tiannarose Says:

April 2nd, 2015 at 10:17 am

When I read through the letter, Lola and Reese really stood out to me. I think the Namesage did a great job in whittling down the choices to Willa Reese. I agree that Charlie Layne & Willa Reese sound great together. Willa is definitely feminine but not so much that it alienates Charlie. I think I’m going to like this weekly column a lot!

SimoneKadele Says:

April 2nd, 2015 at 10:41 am

I like Charlie and Lola, but yes, it is a British book collection and TV show. So maybe not…what about:


I like the -l sound with Charlie, as you can see. 🙂

mymel0dy Says:

April 2nd, 2015 at 10:44 am

As I was reading through Namesage’s suggestions Georgia stuck out to me, like because it is a favorite name of mine, but then again so is WIlla. However my thought when I saw it was what about Georgie instead of Georgia? You already have Charlie Layne so how about Georgie Wren?

I also think Sadie and Hattie are great suggestion to go with Charlie. Others to consider are:
I seem to be stuck on the whole IE/Y ending, including the suggestion of Daisy, which is adorable and I think goes well with Charlie.

Waverly123 Says:

April 2nd, 2015 at 10:58 am

I love this column! So fun!
I am more inclined to suggest picking another unisex name to go with Charlie. I think Charlie & Stella/Lola/Lila/Willa makes it sound as if Charlie is the brother. I’ve never heard of Charlie & Lola (I’m Canadian). I think Charlie & Lila or Charlie & Willa would be my top two of these girly suggestions.
Of the unisex options: Elliot, Even, Finley & Reese, I like Finley & Reese. I also love Rowan on a girl! Charlie & Rowan would be super cute!
Of the name sage’s suggestions, I think Wren would be a great fit! Charlie & Wren. Feminine and classy, but spunky and not too girly.
My idea: Sage. Charlie & Sage would be amazing for sisters! I think Sage would be my #1 choice, even though I’m not normally a Sage fan.

Waverly123 Says:

April 2nd, 2015 at 11:00 am

Just wanted to add in: Charlie Layne & Sage Finley! or Sage Willa.

peach25 Says:

April 2nd, 2015 at 11:19 am

Amazingly, just by looking at the favored names and before reading Abby’s wise advice, I picked Willa Reese! Seond choices would, be Georgia Reese or Lila Reese. I know a lovely Lila Reid, all grown up now.

peach25 Says:

April 2nd, 2015 at 11:20 am

Amazingly, just by looking at the favored names and before reading Abby’s wise advice, I picked Willa Reese! Second choices would, be Georgia Reese or Lila Reese. I know a lovely Lila Reid, all grown up now.

Nathalia Says:

April 2nd, 2015 at 11:27 am

Just want to reiterate that names don’t have to come in matched sets. There are lots of directions to go here for both children to feel they received special names that are loved by their parents. Some lovely ideas have been suggested. A few more:

Joiya Says:

April 2nd, 2015 at 12:34 pm

I love @mymel0dy’s suggestion of Georgie Wren! Georgie is so unexpected and cute alongside Charlie. I mean, why are people not confiscating that nickname for girls already?

I am not a huge Charlie fan on girls, mostly because Charlie is my dad… but I think Georgie would be a great option. I would likely pair it with something like Estelle or Delle (Georgie Delle!) but both Wren and Rowan sound lovely with it as well.

I would be excited to hear what the baby will eventually be called – so I hope NB does follow-ups on their writers.

amf0224 Says:

April 2nd, 2015 at 2:00 pm

Love Willa Reese – perfect name to go with Charlie Layne!

missaidan Says:

April 2nd, 2015 at 4:11 pm

if you go with willa kids might end up calling her willy wonka… given that she has a sister named charlie.

Bosmama78 Says:

April 2nd, 2015 at 7:04 pm

I have to agree and say that I think Willa would make an excellent choice. It’s still spunky and is the female variant of William, so best of both.

Giinkies Says:

April 2nd, 2015 at 8:20 pm

As said before, the pairing reminds me of Charlie and Lola the tv show. Also Charlie Sheen and his daughter Lola (which I only remember because of the tv show).

I’d go with Stella. I think Charlie and Stella are the best pairing of the names listed. If you decide to have more kids, the next one may feel a little left out if you choose Charlie and Lola as it is a popular series on tv and series of children’s books.

Giinkies Says:

April 2nd, 2015 at 8:23 pm

I agree with @missaidan about Willa. After reading that comment it’s something I can’t forget.

kaiajade Says:

April 2nd, 2015 at 10:45 pm

How about Willow? She can go by Will or Willa if she chooses.

tori101 Says:

April 3rd, 2015 at 5:29 am

I would go with Willa, when I was first reading the name suggestions before even reading Abby’s response, I was thinking Willa is the best name to go with Charlie Layne. Willa is the feminine of William which links nicely with Charlie being the nickname/feminisation of Charles. Willa has a cool retro streak and is the right balance with Charlie Layne. I love Abby’s suggestion of Willa Reese with Charlie Layne.

Patty87 Says:

April 3rd, 2015 at 10:48 am

I love this new blog post! But only once a week? I say post daily and keep the answers slightly shorter! Name Sage obviously knows her names and is good at this! Keep them coming 🙂

jj1010 Says:

April 3rd, 2015 at 3:43 pm

With Charlie Layne, I like:

Sloane Lila
Jamie Rose
Stella James

scblovesnames Says:

April 4th, 2015 at 7:12 am

Charlie Layne and Willa Reese are a great pair. Im having the hardest time too with my sibling name but now I realize I’m going to find a name I love and that is unique to this next child. I already have my boys short list and the girl name is down to one with a whole lot of middles.

I definitely do love Charlie and Lola too.

Abby Says:

April 4th, 2015 at 10:40 am

Thanks, Patty87 – you made my day! – Abby

peach Says:

April 4th, 2015 at 12:04 pm

I agree with the advice that you have to love a name before considering how well it goes with your daughter’s name. Willa and Finley are great matches to my ear but only if you love them. The combo Willa Reese is very similar in feel to Charlie Layne but perhaps too similar. I would like to see something a little more dynamic with the sweet but simple Willa:

Willa Frances
Willa Meryl
Willa Daphne
Willa Tate
Willa Ruby
Willa Sidney

I also really like Finley!
Finley Dove
Finley Stella
Finley Edith
Finley Augusta
Finley May

Good luck! I can’t wait to hear what you decide.

AmLou031 Says:

April 4th, 2015 at 8:58 pm

Id like to suggest Billie. Its another masculine nickname that works for girls and Charlie and Billie are cute together

Billie Sage
Billie Wren
Billie Paige
Billie Grace

Georgieporge Says:

April 7th, 2015 at 11:53 am

I obviously think Georgie is awesome 😛 (look at my screen name). But Jamie I think would be lovely too! Now someone has said about Charlie and Willa/Charlie and Willy Wonka I can’t unsee it. And Charlie and Lola is very popular here in Britain. So I am not 100% on those. I’m not sure about 2 -ie ending names, although my sisters and I are Allie (Alice), Lizzie (Elizabeth) and Georgie (Georgina) and I think it kind of sounds nice so I could be wrong there.

I really like Sage and Elliott. I didn’t realise Finley was a girls name but I’ve really warmed to it reading these comments, it’s very cute 🙂 I wonder if it will feel a little forced and obvious if you pick another traditionally boys name for a girl, like Jamie and Elliott, and will also restrict you to another one of those names if you have another baby? I don’t think I’ve helped at all but congratulations and let us know what you pick!

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