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.
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!
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.’
Jemima – Is it too posh? Or too Puddle Duck?
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.
But then enter popularity, that great spoiler of so many seemingly perfect name choices.
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:
Beatrix – Maybe 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.
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.
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.