Fashionable Classic Baby Names
by Linda Rosenkrantz
Can baby names be both fashionable and classic? Absolutely, and the names of George and Amal Clooney‘s newborn twins Ella and Alexander are a case in point. Both have long histories and international status, yet feel way more stylish than classic names like say, Anne and John.
Fashionable classic baby names might be high on the popularity list (Olivia, William) or further out on the cutting edge of style (Louisa and Walter). But all are proven commodities that combine elegance with staying power. Here are 12 of the best. For more, see our new list of Fashionable Classic Baby Names.
The name of Amal and George’s baby daughter is a stylish classic: the Top 20 Ella. Long a celebrity fave (other famous Ella dads include Mark Wahlberg, Eric Clapton, Warren Beatty and Ben Stiller), and long a popular stand-alone shortening of names like Isabella, Eleanor and Elizabeth, Ella is simple and charming, with a dash of Ella Fitzgerald jazz.
- Amal and George’s baby daughter is a stylish classic: the Top 20 Ella. Long a celebrity fave (other famous Ella dads include Mark Wahlberg, Eric Clapton, Warren Beatty and Ben Stiller), and long a popular stand-alone shortening of names like Isabella, Eleanor and Elizabeth, Ella is simple and charming, with a dash of Ella Fitzgerald jazz." >
- Alexander the Great, yet is still the 11th most popular name in America, given to more than 13,000 baby boys last year. One reason for his unwavering popularity is a wealth of ever-evolving nicknames, from Al to Alex and Alec to Zander, Zan and Xan, Lex, and the international Sasha and Sandro." >
- Elizabeth is now rising on the national charts as well, regaining the popularity it had at the turn of the last century. Dainty but strong, Eliza has been a US First Lady and First Daughter name, the spunky heroine of My Fair Lady and a character in Pride and Prejudice, Jane Eyre, Uncle Tom’s Cabin and TV’s The Walking Dead." >
- Theodore has been recharged via the cool nickname Theo, which many modern parents now prefer over the traditional Ted and Teddy. Theodore reentered the Top 100 in 2015 at Number 83, its highest point since 1935. In addition to being presidential, Theodore has literary, and artistic cred galore." >
- Emily, never more popular than it is now, given to 10,500+ girls in 2016, and reaching the 11th spot. Amelia has also ranked as the very top name in Britain, where it has royal connections, since 2011. Senator Elizabeth Warren has a grown daughter named Amelia, and it’s the birth name of Minnie Driver." >
- Sebastian, which was a Top 500 name in 1916, fell completely off the list in the 1950s, and is now back way up at Number 25. Featured in the works of Shakespeare, Evelyn Waugh—and Disney--Sebastian was picked for their sons by James Spader, Tommy Hilfiger, and Lin-Manuel Miranda." >
- Louisa was an eighteenth century success story, until it was replaced by the more tailored Louise. But now the tables are turning, as Louisa reentered the Top 1000 in 2014 after a 45-year hiatus, and has been rising since. Predictive of even wider popularity: Louisa is now Number 143 on Nameberry." >
- Henry is a perennially stylish classic, with a bit of a funky edge. It’s riding high now, firmly ensconced in the Top 25. A name with lots of history, character and personality, Henry has been wildly popular in the celebrisphere, with Meryl Streep, Viggo Mortensen, Julia Roberts, Colin Farrell and Julia Louis-Dreyfuss just a few of the stellar members of the Henry Parents Club." >
- Penelope is in style right now, ranking at Number 27 and one of the fastest rising girls’ names. Contributing to its success were glamorous Spanish actress Penelope Cruz and its pick by Kourtney Kardashian and Tina Fey for their daughters." >
- James is probably the most fashionable right now. And that’s James in full, not Jim, Jimmy or Jamie. Now the fifth most popular name in the country, James has rarely been below the Top 5 and was the recent winner in a poll of America’s favorite boys’ names, with more historic and artistic assets than we could possibly mention. William is a close runner-up to James, sharing similar assets." >
- Cora, and Dora that fit into this category—but Nora is the one that has probably been the most consistently stylish, calling up romantic images of elegantly posed Sargent-era ladies in shimmering satin gowns. Nora also has many Irish relatives and is remembered as the independent Ibsen heroine of A Doll’s House." >
- Julian, a handsome re-rising star, would make a wonderful contemporary classic choice for a July baby boy. Despite its rich history—the name derives from an ancient Roman family and has been worn by emperors and saints—Julian still feels modern and cool. Robert De Niro and Jerry Seinfeld both have sons named Julian." >
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on June 9th, 2017 at 5:21 am
I had just been looking at this new list yesterday and was so surprised not to see Lucy on it.
on June 9th, 2017 at 7:53 am
These are all lovely names, I would use Alexander, Theodore for boys. I am not a big fan of Louisa though.
on June 9th, 2017 at 10:57 am
I agree that Lucy should be on this list. I think my daughter’s name could be considered to be a fashionable classic. Her name is Joanna and she was born this March.
on June 9th, 2017 at 11:45 am
I love Alexander, Henry and Julian!
on June 9th, 2017 at 12:46 pm
I don’t think this list was supposed to be an exhaustive list of classic & fashionable names, but just 12 of them. Personally, I’d use more of the boys’ names than the girls’ names…Theodore, Sebastian, James, & Julian all appeal to me. Of the girls, Penelope’s the only one I’d use as is, but I do love the form of Luisa (pronounced Loo-EESS-ah) rather than Louisa (Loo-EEZ-ah).
on June 9th, 2017 at 4:40 pm
What definition of “classic” is being used to make these lists?
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