Fresh, Modern Girl Names

February 20, 2018 Abby Sandel

Their firstborn’s name came to them without any difficulty. But if this new baby is a girl, she’s nameless! Can we help Everly’s mama find some fresh inspiration?

Laura writes:

We will be welcoming our second child this summer.  Our sweet Everly Reed will be a great big sister … the only problem is that I don’t think I can come up with a good baby name to follow hers!

Everly was our immediate favorite and Reed is my middle name, so the decision was as easy as could be.

We have already agreed upon a boy name: Wells Robert, but there is no girl name that really has the draw for me like Everly.

Our last name is a long German mouthful that starts with M, so very little flows with it.

The only name that has come up for consideration is Perrie Louise (Perry was my grandfather’s name and Louise is my husband’s grandmother). I’m not 100% sold on it, but as of now it is all I have.

My inspiration pool is drying up. Your help would be greatly appreciated!

The Name Sage replies:

I’m a big believer in borrowing from our family trees. It’s often the quickest route to find a shortlist of names rich with meaning. And so Perrie Louise could be a great choice … but it sounds like it’s not a great choice for you.

Let’s take family names off the table – at least for now – and start with a blank page.

It sounds like you’re looking for a modern name, something tailored but still feminine. Everly combines lots of sounds we’re used to hearing in girls’ names, like Eve and Valerie, but seems distinctively different, too. It’s very much a twenty-first century choice.

Since your favorite boy name is also a surname, I’m tempted to start there. But word names – drawn from nature and tied to virtues – seem like a promising category, too. The key is to find another name that feels familiar, and yet unexpected at the same time.

Blair – Spare and tailored, Blair could work for a son or a daughter. It tends to be used for girls, maybe because it rhymes with the classic Claire. Or maybe fictional Blairs, from the 1980s-era Blair Warner on The Facts of Life to Gossip Girls’ Blair Waldorf, have changed how we view the name. While it’s not nearly as novel as Everly, I think Everly and Blair sound just like sisters.

Ember Ember sounds a lot like 80s favorite Amber, but this name has a fiery side. It also feels more current, thanks to all the Em– names in our Top 100. Ember debuted in the US Top 1000 back in 2009, just a few years ahead of Everly. Both names are fresh discoveries, seldom heard until this generation of children.

Journey – Strictly speaking, Everly isn’t a virtue name. But ever makes it seem almost-kinda-sorta like one. If that’s part of the name’s appeal, then I have a perfect suggestion for her sister: Journey. If you like that idea, but aren’t sure about Journey, maybe Haven, Justice, Arrow, Sage, or True would appeal?

Juniper Everly is just plain fun to say, isn’t it? That always makes me think of Juniper: three syllables that roll off the tongue. Everly makes me think of the traditional Eve, and Juniper brings to mind June. That lends the two names even more symmetry. You didn’t mention if you ever call EverlyEvie” for short, but if you do, Juniper’s built-in nickname is yet another bonus.

Landry – Lots of surname-style names don’t work with Everly. Avery and Emery are too close; Presley and Lennon are also Rock & Roll Hall of Fame surnames. But Landry is just different enough. For the last few years, it has appeared at the edges of the US Top 1000 for boys and girls. It’s one of those unusual names that fits in perfectly.

Piper – Of course, nothing says that an unusual name is the right choice. Despite Everly’s status as a newcomer name, it sits just outside the current US Top 1000. So maybe you’d like Piper? Boosted by television shows from Charmed to Orange is the New Black to Nickelodeon’s Henry Danger, it’s quickly become a modern favorite. If Perrie seems like a possibility, maybe a name like Piper would appeal?

Rowan Rowan is both an Irish surname and a nature name, thanks to the tree. It has a bright, modern sound, one that feels right at home with Everly. One note: while Everly is very occasionally used for boys, Rowan is one of the most unisex names of our day. That said, I think it makes a great sister name for Everly.

Saylor – Full disclosure: I’ve never recommended Saylor before. And I personally prefer the word name Sailor. But it’s the Taylor-influenced Saylor that recently debuted in the US Top 1000, and the more I think about, the more I think it could be perfect for Everly’s sister. It has a subtle word-name vibe, putting Saylor in the same category as Journey. Plus, like Everly, it really wasn’t a name until the early 2000s.

Now that we’ve thought about a fresh, modern first name, let’s return to the riddle of the middle. You might already have the perfect choice: Louise, from your husband’s grandmother. Everly Reed and Piper Louise. Or maybe you’d just use Lou. Everly Reed and Juniper Lou. And, of course, Perrie is a possibility. Everly Reed and Rowan Perrie sound great together.

I’m a little bit in love with the idea of Everly and Saylor as sisters. I think they’re both the kinds of names that feel mainstream in 2018, but wouldn’t have been on anybody’s list thirty – or even ten! – years ago. That feels like the kind of fresh, novel choice that might appeal to you. And, should ever have a son, I think siblings named Everly, Saylor, and Wells are great together, too.

Readers, over to you! What would you name a sister for Everly Reed?

About the author


Abby Sandel is nameberry's Senior Editor and resident Name Sage. Look for her baby name news round-ups every Monday, and her Name Sage columns on Wednesdays. Abby is the creator of the baby name blog Appellation Mountain and mom to Alex and Clio. For a chance to have your questions answered, contact Abby at

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