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Frills-Free Girl Names

What goes best with Margot and Audrey?

a Name Sage post by: Abby View all Name Sage posts
Frills-Free Girl Names

They’ve chosen two great names for their daughters, but now sister number three is on the way! Let’s help them find a not-too-wacky, not-too-common name that’s also frills-free and feminine.

Jennifer writes:

We’re not sure what to name our third daughter, due at the end of June. With less than 6 weeks to go I am starting to panic!

Her sisters are Margot Mary (love Margot – feels the perfect balance of not too wacky, yet not too common, either. It’s neither too frilly, nor too buttoned-up) and Audrey Jean.

For number three we are drawing a blank on girl names. I love Penelope but our surname sounds like Packer, and Penny Packer feels too much!

We’ve also considered:

Felicity – But it feels a teeny bit fussy.

Ottilie – I like, but hubby doesn’t and I agree with him that it feels a bit ‘try hard.’

Sophie – Except there seems to be a Sophie everywhere! And I don’t want our third daughter to have a name that is so much more popular than her sisters.

Jemima – Is it too posh? Or too Puddle Duck?

Emmeline – But is Emmeline Packer too close to Emmeline Pankhurst?

Dorothy – Except Dorothy Packer is very close to Dorothy Parker!

Her middle name will be Zane, a family name.

I don’t want to land them with names that look like we’ve tried really hard to create a set. I would like a proper, traditional, grown-up girl’s name.

Any ideas gratefully received.

The Name Sage replies:

Many of us want our children’s names to feel like they’re part of the same family. But where’s the line between family unity and sibsets that feel like they’re storybook characters? Flopsy, Mopsy, and Cottontail only work for rabbits.

Margot and Audrey pair perfectly together. They’re similar in style, and both are nickname-proof, frills-free girls’ names. In this sense, Sophie seems like it completes the trio.

But then enter popularity, that great spoiler of so many seemingly perfect name choices.

(A quick note: Since Jennifer and her family are in the UK, we’re looking at British trends. That means Sophie has ranked in or near the Top Ten for a solid twenty years.)

While popular names can still be great choices, it sounds like Sophie fatigue has set in.

But is that the only reason Sophie doesn’t appeal? Looking at the other names on your list, they’re longer, and maybe a bit on the more elaborate side.

My favorite from your current options is Dorothy. While your daughter’s name would be very similar to legendary writer Dorothy Parker, I think it still works. It’s not a name that children will instantly recognize, and Parker is a pretty cool namesake. Dorothy leans longer, but retains that no-nonsense feminine style of Margot Mary and Audrey Jean.

Penelope Packer works nicely, too. Alliteration is highly personal. I’m a big fan, but plenty of parents prefer to avoid it. If Penny Packer sounds too cute to you, another option might be to nickname her Nell instead.

Or maybe we just haven’t found the right name yet. Would you consider:

BeatrixMaybe it’s because I mentioned Flopsy, Mopsy, and Cottontail and you said Puddleduck, but Beatrix keeps coming to mind. It looks like Beatrice has been more popular in England; now Beatrix is catching up. Neither of them seems to be overexposed. Margot, Audrey, and Beatrix sound exactly like sisters.

Constance Felicity qualifies as a virtue name, but if you’d like something more tailored, what do you think of Constance? It brings to mind Emmeline from your list, too. Vintage Constance has gained in England, but remains far less common than the similar-sounding Florence.

Frances Frances nearly always comes up when we talk about strong, feminine names for a daughter. It’s in the early stages of a comeback across the English-speaking world, but with so many famous Franceses in the past – plus a handful of celebrity babies in recent years – this is an up-and-coming classic.

Mabel – I took Mabel off the first version of this list, since it starts with the same letter as Margot. But in many ways, Mabel feels like a perfect sister for Audrey and Margot. It’s short, complete, vintage, and very much on-trend without being too familiar.

Nora – If you were in the US, I’d probably dismiss Nora as too popular. But it’s gained more slowly in the UK. Nora shares the two-syllable, ends-in-a pattern of so many girls’ names. And yet there’s a lot of substance to this short name. For something slightly frillier, there’s always Flora. Both of the names – along with Cora – are on the rise in England.

Iris Iris sits just outside the current Top 100 in England. It’s brief, nickname-proof, and elegant. The only hitch? Iris might run together a bit too much with your chosen middle, Zane.

Serena – In thinking about substitutes for Jemima, I keep coming back to Serena. It’s a name with a long history of steady use, and yet it’s never been wildly popular. It shares the S of Sophie, but with the longer style that seems to speak to you for this daughter.

Sylvie – If there’s a logical alternative to chart-topping Sophie, it must be Sylvie. Sylvie is on the rise in the UK, no doubt, but it remains relatively underused. It combines the best of Sophie with the ‘v’ of favorites like Ava and Olivia. Margot, Audrey, and Sylvie sound exactly right together.

If I had to recommend just one name to you, it would be Sylvie. Margot Mary, Audrey Jean, and Sylvie Zane sound like sisters without being too matched.

But returning to your original list, I like Dorothy for your family, too. It has the strength and vintage style that you love, and matches her sisters’ names without being overly coordinated.

Readers, I know you’ll have some great ideas on this one. What would you name a sister for Margot Mary and Audrey Jean?

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About the author

Abby

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 namesage@nameberry.com.
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45 Responses to “Frills-Free Girl Names”

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mill1020 Says:

May 23rd, 2017 at 11:01 pm

I’m very biased, but Elise is another great choice. I agree that Dorothy is a good match, too.

There are a LOT of little Sophies running around these days.

Jorja Says:

May 24th, 2017 at 2:16 am

My baby is named Dorotija, so I’m biased toward Dorothy. But Sylvie is a beautiful name and one I would happily use for a future daughter. Other names that come to mind are Josephine, Hazel, Georgia, Lucy, Evelyn, Edith and Matilda.

jonix Says:

May 24th, 2017 at 4:17 am

I know a sibset Violet, Beatrix and Margot, so maybe Violet could also work? I don’t think it’s frillier than Iris.

How about Olive, Ivy, Clara, Dahlia, Hazel, Stella, Fiona, Willa?

Ducaliter Says:

May 24th, 2017 at 4:38 am

I like the name of the two girls. I agree with Violet, Georgia and Edith as intesting for a third daughter. Other names that come to my mind are: Amelie, Clarice, Ellie, Judith, Christine, Marian, Celia, Adeline, Cecily, (H)Eloise, Arianna…

marisarose Says:

May 24th, 2017 at 5:12 am

My favorites from this list: Nora Zane, Beatrix Zane, Sylvie Zane, and then Dorothy Zane

Another name that I think goes well with Margot and Audrey: Daphne. Daphne Zane. Also keeps the 2 syllable and rather nn free feel of the other 2.

lavendel Says:

May 24th, 2017 at 5:17 am

I love the suggestions of Frances, Iris and Sylvie! Also the suggested above Elise works well I think.

– Margot, Audrey and Frances
– Margot, Audrey and Elise

Those sibsets are my fave.

iipostmvh Says:

May 24th, 2017 at 5:30 am

I second the suggestion of Daphne. I think it would be perfect not only with Zane, but also with Margot and Audrey. I also like the other suggestion of Celia.

NaomiNY Says:

May 24th, 2017 at 6:50 am

Dorothy Zane sounds great with Margot Mary and Audrey Jean.

Binni Says:

May 24th, 2017 at 6:59 am

Sylvie Zane and Nora Zane sound the best to me. I have been a girl name nerd since a year so I can say Nora and Sylvie in the UK are perfect choices. I love both the names a lot.

Few suggestions: What about Annabelle Zane, Irina Zane, Joanna Zane, Juliana/Yuliana Zane or Ophelia Zane?
For these names I’ve tried to match your style but If I’m not able to then I’m very sorry.

If I were in your place, I would’ve chosen Sylvie Zane.

I actually want to be a namesage too!

EmmaMay Says:

May 24th, 2017 at 8:13 am

My favorites are:
Margot, Audrey, and Sophie
Margot, Audrey, and Frances
Margot, Audrey, and Iris
Margot, Audrey, and Sylvie

And I also like the previous suggestion of Daphne — Margot, Audrey, and Daphne sound great together.

Titus245Mama Says:

May 24th, 2017 at 8:29 am

Sylvie sounds perfect! Elegant yet friendly and unpretentious. There’s a senior ballet student in my daughters’ dance studio with that name.

mymel0dy Says:

May 24th, 2017 at 8:40 am

Reading through the suggestions my initial response was yes Sylvie Zane, though I have to admit Dorothy Zane is good choice. Then I said Flora Zane outloud and it sounded so perfect to me. Margot, Audrey, and Flora seem like a beautiful sib-set to me. All classic, feminine without being frilly. I also like that all three have different endings and initials, but that could just be a me thing.

elephanza Says:

May 24th, 2017 at 9:06 am

I love Sylvie Zane. It flows perfectly with her sisters! 🙂

Eu Says:

May 24th, 2017 at 9:37 am

How about Dorothea? Although it ends in an -a I find it very unfrilly — perhaps because of Dorothea Brooks in Middlemarch.

MissBennet Says:

May 24th, 2017 at 10:10 am

I like that Margot and Audrey are also six-letter names with two syllables, and around the same level of popularity in the UK currently. Daphne and Sylvie suit that perfectly! I’d like to add Esther–it’s another six-letter, two-syllable, no-frills name around the same level of popularity (ranked 150-300), and Esther has a different ending from both Margot and Audrey, which appeals to me :). Essie Davis (Phryne Fisher in Miss Fisher’s Mysteries) is an Esther.

Hester, Laurel, Lenore, Simone, and Ingrid all fit the criteria too, too, but they’re ranked below 1000 in the UK, so less familiar than Margot and Audrey among small children and their parents.

Throwing out the strict six-letter, two-syllable criteria, I *really* like the suggestion of Flora, though the floral association might break the ‘frill-free’ requirement. Sybil, Helena, Juliet, Agnes, and Ellen also fit, I think, though Ellen might feel a bit dated to the 80s-90s in the UK.

One quick note, since both Edith and Agnes have been suggested: the three girls in the Despicable Me movies are Margot, Edith, and Agnes. Margot, Audrey, and Edith or Margot, Audrey, and Agnes are very, very close to that set of (awesomely named) sisters. I don’t think that would put me off, as a parent, but it’s definitely worth taking into account 🙂

NameLover 11 Says:

May 24th, 2017 at 10:23 am

I love Beatrix and Sylvie, with Margot and Audrey.

SusannaLily Says:

May 24th, 2017 at 10:24 am

I like the suggestion of Daphne and Esther. I would like to add Gemma, a little less posh then Jemima and sans duck references. Gemma hasn’t been popular in the UK for over twenty years and fits together nicely with Audrey and Margot.

Audrey, Margot and Gemma
Audrey, Margot and Vivian
Audrey, Margot and Naomi

oliviamcdonald Says:

May 24th, 2017 at 10:42 am

Sylvie Zane is an epic name! Daphne Zane is also perfect!

Yuma Says:

May 24th, 2017 at 10:46 am

Emmeline, Margot, and Audrey would be my favorite. Emmeline Pankhurst isn’t a negative association, so that wouldn’t bother me, personally; I would love for people to be reminded of Emmeline Pankhurst when they heard my daughters name! But, no, I don’t think that Emmeline “Packer” is so close that everyone would make that association. My only hang up would the flow of Emmeline Zane, but it’s not too bad. I probably wouldn’t really like Zane in any combo, but I totally get wanting to pass along the family name for your third (:

I also like…
Violet, Margot, and Audrey
Felicity, Margot, Audrey
Georgia, Margot, Audrey

Sophie or Sylvie would fit nicely, too. Dorothy in this sibset would work, and it’s a sweet name, but somehow ends up feeling heavy to me with Margot and Audrey, like it almost loses its sparkle and simultaneously brings down the charm of Margot and Audrey

Beau Jean Says:

May 24th, 2017 at 11:00 am

Sadie Zane
Ethel Zane

sarah1800 Says:

May 24th, 2017 at 11:14 am

I agree that Margot, Audrey, and Emmeline is really nice and don’t think the Pankhurst thing is a big deal. I also think Eleanor would be a great match–serious but pretty like Margot and Audrey. From others, I like Daphne, Josephine, Edith, Eloise, and Flora. I prefer Sylvia to Sylvie and think it would go well, too.

Beort12 Says:

May 24th, 2017 at 12:12 pm

The name that immediately pops to mind is Lydia. Margot, Audrey and Lydia don’t share much in terms of sounds or looks, but are equally classic and recognizable. A quick search indicates that Lydia isn’t overly popular in the UK as well. Although I like the suggestions of Sylvie and Dorothy, the obvious disadvantage of those names is that they share an ending with Audrey, leaving Margot the odd one out. Lydia, on the other hand, is essentially nickname-proof with sharing an ending with either of her sister’s names.

Tina_and_Bert Says:

May 24th, 2017 at 2:46 pm

When I think of spare, feminine names I always think of Helen. Mavis is also nice. Briony? Tamsin?

jmsouthern Says:

May 24th, 2017 at 5:19 pm

Dorothy is the best fit, imho. I also like the suggestion of Helen.

celestemilmun Says:

May 24th, 2017 at 6:14 pm

I would avoid using a name with an “ee”-sounding ending so that each daughter has a name that’s unique in that regard, but that’s just a personal preference. I really like Beatrix or Frances with Margot and Audrey. Great names!

When I think of frills-free feminine, these also come to mind:
Louisa Zane
Alice Zane
Adele Zane
Astrid Zane (I also really like the A Z initial combo!)
Eleanor Zane (getting popular but is actually less common than Audrey)
Theodora Zane
Greta Zane
Nola Zane

rosebudstar Says:

May 24th, 2017 at 7:51 pm

Ella, Dorothy, Edith or Lilia

lydiaann27 Says:

May 24th, 2017 at 10:31 pm

I love Margot and Audrey! I think it’s important to stick with the 2 syllable theme and not use another -y/-ie ending, A, or M name. Another name with an R also would be nice. What about Nora Zane? I also think Frances is nice, but it’s easily nicknamed to Francie. Flora was another lovely suggestion!

lydiaann27 Says:

May 24th, 2017 at 10:32 pm

Oh, and Esther would be perfect as well!

Fionnabhair Says:

May 24th, 2017 at 11:55 pm

Margot, Audrey and:
Daphne
Lucy
Doris
Rosalie
Susan/ Susannah
Angela / Angeline
Evelyn
Valerie
Katherine
Anna
Victoria
Elizabeth
Janet
Julia
Claire / Clara
Leah
Ruby
Lily
Thea
Amy
Rachael
Maria
Naomi
Bella
Gilda
Hilary

Katherine Zane Packer is my fave.

Care Says:

May 25th, 2017 at 1:05 am

Margot Mary, Audrey Jean and Lydia Zane… perfect.

JLP Says:

May 25th, 2017 at 5:04 am

Thank you all so much for taking the time to contribute!

It’s really reassuring that Abby has come up with some of the same ideas we have been toying with (I LOVE Mabel to bits but my mother would kill me – for some reason she is convinced it’s awful – don’t ask!) as well as lots of new ones. And thank you for your comments – they have given me loads of suggestions to hit hubby with when he comes home. I’ll let you know what we decide…!

EvalinaMaude Says:

May 25th, 2017 at 5:02 pm

Love love love your 2 names so far!!! perfection x
Of the suggestions I like Frances best
Some other names I love, might not be your style but seeing as I love your first two names thought I would suggest :
Vera
Laurel
Blanche
Olive
Winifred 😉
Primrose

nell_07 Says:

May 25th, 2017 at 6:28 pm

Sylvie, Beatrix and Violet are all awesome choices, and I like Eleanor too, especially wth Zane as a middle. I am biased though because Eleanor is my name 🙂

My top idea for you though would be Odette. Similar to Ottilie, but less elaborate. Perfect with her sister’s two-syllable, tailored and slightly vintage style!

*Odette Zane Parker* sounds beautiful to me and I can totally hear it for a baby girl in 2016, as well as a successful lawyer or something when she’s all grown up :))

Essa Says:

May 26th, 2017 at 4:39 pm

This list has made me swoon! My favourites for you are Sylvie, Nora, Mabel and Beatrix. Although Dorothy is my favourite name ever, it just doesn’t seem to fit as well with Margot and Audrey.

I’d also like to suggest Edith, Tabitha (reminds me of Jemima for some reason), Esther and Heidi.

Erin Beth Says:

May 26th, 2017 at 6:04 pm

I love your naming style!!!! Audrey and Ellen is a pairing I have long wanted to use. Ellen strikes me as hitting the same balance between frilly and buttoned-down. I LOVE Dorothy. Other ideas: Lydia, Frances, June, Nora, Eliza, Gemma.

Erin Beth Says:

May 26th, 2017 at 6:08 pm

Claire would also work beautifully!

saoirse123 Says:

May 26th, 2017 at 7:05 pm

Sylvie is a great choice from Abby’s list. I also second Simone, Claire and Ellen.

This list made me think of :
Briar
Eloise (the ending dies clash a bit with Zane though)
Juliet
And Twila

Cordelia16 Says:

May 27th, 2017 at 12:20 pm

My first thought was Daphne (and I see a lot of PPs have also suggested it!).

Margot, Audrey, and Daphne sound great together

I also like Sylvie and Norah (prefer the h ending), plus Juliet, Natalie, and Sabrina.

Was going to suggest Hazel, but Hazel Zane doesn’t sound that nice, sadly.

loverofnamesX Says:

May 27th, 2017 at 6:35 pm

I like June seen as she is due in June. However I also don’t think it flows well with the middle Zane but I do like Juniper Zane. I also think it goes well with Margot & Audrey

Margot Mary, Audrey Jean & Juniper Zane
Margot, Audrey, & Juniper
Margot, Audrey & June

but I also love Sylvie and previously suggested Daphne.

arunciblespoon Says:

May 27th, 2017 at 7:32 pm

I think Beatrix is the winner here, works perfectly with Margot and Audrey.

cj85 Says:

May 27th, 2017 at 11:29 pm

I think, from the blog post, that Frances works super well with Margot and Audrey. I also like the suggestion of Daphne.

Other suggestions:

Margot, Audrey, and Odette
Margot, Audrey, and Susannah
Margot, Audrey, and Estelle
Margot, Audrey, and Greta
Margot, Audrey, and Rosemary
Margot, Audrey, and Phoebe
Margot, Audrey, and Pearl
Margot, Audrey, and Florence

eila143 Says:

May 29th, 2017 at 12:01 pm

just saying, I absolutley LOVE the names Margot Mary and Audrey Jean! classic, timeless, and gorgeous.

ew1g09 Says:

May 30th, 2017 at 1:58 pm

Bryony/Briony?

Megan773 Says:

June 5th, 2017 at 10:05 pm

How about Isla? I notice that the end sounds of the other two girls are o and e. So it sounds nice to add an a to the group.

Margot, Audrey, and Isla.

Margot Mary, Audrey Jean, Isla Zane.

zsazsageorge Says:

June 13th, 2017 at 11:13 pm

Margot, Audrey, and June

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