Name Sage: Choosing Cute Classic Girl Names

May 20, 2020 Abby Sandel
cute classic girl names

Cute classic girl names evolve from charming nicknames in nursery school to distinguished formal names as adults. But which goes best with brothers TheodoreTeddy” and Jack?

Christie writes:

We are pregnant with a GIRL after two sweet boys and really struggling with a name for her! 

My boys are Theodore Matthew (Teddy) and Jack Edmund

We like classic names that are cute when they are little but can transition well into adulthood. 

Here are some of the names we like: Elizabeth, Anna, Grace, Emma, Lucy, and Celia.

The middle name would either be Christine or Mae

Open to other suggestions too!

Names we love but cannot use include Katherine/Kate, Caroline, Claire, and Olivia.

Thank you so much for your help!

The Name Sage replies:

You’ve nailed one of the best reasons to choose classic baby names: flexibility! Your older son can be Teddy until he reaches middle school, then Theo or Ted to family and friends, but Theodore when he earns his PhD.

Happily, there are dozens of names for your daughter that fit the same pattern.

The challenge, of course, is finding The Name that you love and that sounds like a sister for Teddy and Jack.

Name length might be part of the puzzle. Anna Mae sounds too brief with Theodore Matthew and Jack Edmund. But Teddy, Jack, and Anna sound great together.

Your second son’s name is a good reminder, too – not every name has to change to age gracefully.

Let’s look at a lot of different options – because there are so many cute classic girl names to consider!

Amelia, called Millie Olivia is on your list of can’t-use names. I wonder if you’d consider Amelia instead? It’s similar in sound, but rich with nicknames – Amy, Mia, Lia, and the one I’d suggest as a sister for Teddy and JackMillie!

Cecilia, called Cece Celia works beautifully with Theodore and Jack. But lengthen it to Cecilia, and you might have a few more nickname options to consider, including Cece. Of course, Celia Christine could be called Cece,too.

Evelyn, called Evie – As tailored as Caroline or Elizabeth, but perhaps not quite as classic, Evelyn sounds like a sister for Theodore and Jack. Some pronounce the nickname with a long E, like Eve. Others say it more like the “ev” in Bev. Either way, it’s a cute classic choice.

Frances, called Franny Frances might feel a little more old-fashioned than some of the names on your list. But it fits perfectly with Theodore and Jack, and Franny is a darling nickname.

Margaret, called MaisieMargaret always strikes me as the most distinguished of classic girl names, maybe even moreso than Elizabeth or Katherine. Traditional Scottish nickname Maisie takes it in a playful direction. She can be Margaret as an adult – or Meg, Margot, or Greta, or any of the many other choices.

Mary, called Mary Long-time number one name Mary now feels surprisingly rare for children. But it remains the most classic of names, and, like Jack, one that ages without alteration. We have nursery rhyme Marys with their gardens and their lambs, but also strong and confident women, saints and artists and authors and queens. And Downton Abbey’s Mary Crawley, of course.

Paulina, called Polly Edmund is so unexpected, but completely wonderful! I wonder if something like Paulina called Polly would hit that same traditional, underused note.

Rose, called Rosie – There’s no shortage of longer Rose names, of course, but just Rose feels particularly classic and enduring.

Sarah, called Sadie – Most Sadies are just Sadie. And few Sarahs use a nickname. But Sadie started out as a diminutive for traditional Sarah, and the option remains. Sarah is slightly less popular than Emma or Anna, but similar in style. And maybe Sadie is exactly the kind of classic cute that you’re seeking?

From your original list, Elizabeth Mae might be my favorite. It offers nicknames galore: Libby, Betsy, Ellie, Eliza, and of course, Lizzie. And if you really want to up the cute factor, Ellie Mae is about as sweet as it gets.

From my list, Amelia-called-Millie feels like a great match. Teddy, Jack, and Millie are perfect together. And with women of accomplishment like Amelia Earhart answering to the formal name, it’s clearly destined for success.

Readers, over to you – what makes your list of cute classic girl names?

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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