Trendy Baby Names: And why not?

For her round-up of the Nameberry 9 newsiest names this week, Appellation Mountain‘s Abby Sandel asks us to think about why we sometimes shy away from trendy baby names.

I’ve heard parents fret that they can’t use Harper now that the Beckhams have bestowed it on a daughter. Suggest that you might name a son Jayden and you’ll be warned that the name will be considered trendy, dated, damaging to your child’s future career. What’s worse, we scan message boards, wondering if our favorite name will be the next rising star.

But why all the worry? Generations of parents have sought out stylish names, even if they haven’t talked about them in quite those terms. My dear grandmother nearly named a daughter Loretta after Hollywood-star-turned-television-host Loretta Young.

We can trace the rise of many appellations to television, celebrities, literature, and other pop culture influences. Even so-called classics often owe their revivals to pop culture. Would Charlotte be the favorite she is today without Sex and the City? Statistics link the character with the name’s resurgence.

Let’s embrace the influences that bring great new names to our attention, even if they’re promoted by the most unlikely of sources.

This week’s nine most newsworthy names are all potentially stylish, even trendy:

Rosie – Reality star Kourtney Kardashian is expecting baby #2, and apparently her firstborn wants a say in her name. Kourtney reported that Mason is campaigning to name his baby sister Rosie. Is it me, or does that make young Master Disick the best baby namer in the Kardashian clan?

Hawkins – The Dallas Cowboys’ Tony Romo and wife Candice Crawford have named their son Hawkins Crawford Romo. Hawkins: one-half Downton Abbey butler and one-half bird of prey.

Eugene Pip – English actors Billie Piper and Laurence Fox were sure to choose an appealing name for their second child, since big brother is Winston James. But their choice is downright fascinating. Eugene seemed unsalvageable until this moment, even after Mad Men’s Betty gave the name to her youngest child. As for that miniature middle, it is rich with great expectations.

Petula – Speaking of unlikely choices, Angela at Upswing Baby Names highlighted Petula this week. She sounds vaguely botanical, but isn’t – instead, singer Petula Clark’s appellation was invented by her dad. In our era of Lucy and Ruby, Amelia and Stella, Piper and Penelope, Petula fits right in.

Olivia – NCIS’ Michael Weatherly and wife Bojana Jankovic may have chosen a common name, but they have a great story to tell. Bojana comes from the Slavic boj – battle, making mom’s name combat-worthy. Olivia, with her images of olive branches and peace, makes for a nice counterpoint.

Stella Aubrey Rayne – Speaking of meaning, I am often suspicious of names formed by combining names of parents or grandparents. But this story from The Toronto Star is proof that the concept can work. The graceful smooshes were formed from grandparents’ names Audrey and Bevan, Ron and Mary Jane.

Tallie – Endless name inspiration has come from fiction, so Babble’s list of names borrowed from New York Times bestsellers is full of promise. The list includes Tallie, a character in Danielle Steel’s Betrayal. Could she be the next Hallie? Could Tillie be the new Lily? And why aren’t we using the letter T more?

Cameron KaiulaniFox News LA correspondent Courtney Friel has welcomed a daughter. Yup, baby Cameron is a girl. Hawaiian middles seem to be something of a trendlet these days. Friel’s older child is Cash Hudson. Dad is Carter Evans, so the C names are all in the family.

ZayneMindy McCready – a country singer whose bio reads something like the lyrics to a country western song – has welcomed a second child, son Zayne. Big brother is Zander. Both names are zippy and very much on trend, but unlike Cash and Cameron, they feel like they cross the line from close to too close.

Do you worry that the names you choose could be perceived as trendy? Would it bother you if a name came from pop culture? Or do you look to novels, movies, and television for fresh inspiration?

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16 Responses to “Trendy Baby Names: And why not?”

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starophie Says:

April 15th, 2012 at 11:57 pm

I shy away from trendy names because of the point made – trendy names date quickly (take a look at Heather or Jason, at least in America). But I guess the other point is true, which is that all names are potentially trendy. But I still feel a bit queasy about “my” name being on the top ten 😉

I also just wanted to point out that I love that fact that Tallie was mentioned! I’d never heard of the book or heard that name before, but I’m writing a story about a girl named Talliver and her nn is Tally :3

afmastro Says:

April 16th, 2012 at 5:19 am

I differentiate between stylish and trendy. In my opinion stylish = good and trendy = bad.

Stylish names may reflect a certain time period but will get recycled eventually. Trendy names are very closely connected to a certain time period and rarely become resurrected.

Usually stylish names have more history behind them. But lately I have learned that some names I like were made-up. Fiona, Vanessa come to mind.

Determining which names are stylish and which names are trendy can be difficult. I can say confidently that Olivia and Lucy are stylish, not trendy, due to their roots, but I’m hesitant to write off too many names as trendy until after they have gone out of fashion.

Mcdonak1 Says:

April 16th, 2012 at 8:53 am

As the owner of a trendy ’80s name, I really wanted to avoid trendy for my child. There were so many Kristen/Kristin/Krystyn/whatevers around when I was growing up that I always had my last initial tacked on to the end of my name through high school. Then in college, on my freshman dorm floor everyone would distinguish among the many Krist(e/i/y)ns by giving us charming nicknames: Slutty Kristen, Kristin from California, Nerdy Kristen (that one was me), Stoner Christin…. And those damn nicknames followed us until graduation.

Mischa Says:

April 16th, 2012 at 9:35 am

Eugene is a name we don’t hear very often nowadays. I wonder if Pip is in honour of Dickens’ “Great Expectations” character? I’m not crazy about Eugene Pip but it does “fit” with Winston James which is lovely. Zayne and Zander are much too similar for siblings in my opinion. I always thought that the invented Petula worked really well (eg. it “looks” and “sounds” like a legitimate name) unlike some of the more modern inventions so popular today (Nevaeh?).

skarbassoona Says:

April 16th, 2012 at 9:45 am

I’m a Jennifer born in the mid 80’s, who was taught to spell the shortened version “Jenni”. (the shame! :)) Actually, I have never minded having a common name or using a trendy spelling. I actually love the name Aiden, but the Ayden, Jayden, Cayden, Brayden, Hayden, Peyton (etc.) craze still puts me off. Part of me thinks this is silly, but I don’t have the guts to face the shame of hopping on the bandwagon…Yet.

Reeny Says:

April 16th, 2012 at 11:04 am

I’m no fan of trendy names (Nevaeh is a great example). Having to come up with names for our baby over the next few months, we’ll stay well away from them as best we can.

Why? I guess my husband and I are perhaps more alternative, and, being a writer, I like the poetry of a full name – something elegant and timeless.

Naming in the now just feels like something I’d regret, kind of like having to be stuck with a trendy outfit that I could never update.

Although in saying that, it freaks me out a little that Rosie might be considered trendy…I suppose it’s like the example of Charlotte given in this article – an old, well-used name, revived.

skizzo Says:

April 16th, 2012 at 1:09 pm

I dont mind trendy names as long as they’re not made up. I love Riley and Peyton for boys – they may seem trendy but they have been around (for males) for a very long time. It just happens that they’re increasing in popularity.
Popularity for me is the biggest deal breaker, anything in the top100 is a no no.

isabel_r Says:

April 16th, 2012 at 1:46 pm

Ooh! My grade has quite a few older names, and there is a boy named Gene in a few of my classes. Turns out his full name really is Eugene. Love to see it coming back!

KourtneyQ Says:

April 16th, 2012 at 4:59 pm

I actually like the name Hawkins, it’s a rugged sounding name that I think would work just fine. Zayne is also a great name, has that western zip to it.
Trendy names seem to be avoided like the plague on this site but I don’t mind some of them. There are quite a few names I’ve seen promoted on here that would be more of a burden than some of the trendy names out there.

forever1D Says:

April 16th, 2012 at 6:08 pm

My name is Olivia and my mother gave me that name because she thought it was timeless and beautiful. She named me this at a point in time when it was not in the top 10 baby names in America. But, I absolutely love my name and nicknames which are Liv and Livie.

I love the name “Tallie,” but I love it even more when it’s spelled “Tally.” Tally Youngblood is the main character in “Uglies” by Scott Westerfeld. I think the name “Zayne” will be more popular, especially because of the British-Irish boy band One Direction and one of their members is named “Zayn.”

wtp Says:

May 5th, 2012 at 2:49 am

My name is Daisy and my mother gave me that name because she thought it was a elegant name. She named me this point in time when it was not in the took 10 baby names in England. But, I absolutely love my name and nicknames which are Maurgeruiette and Asher.

I love the name “Tallie,” but I love it even more when it’s spelled “Tally.” Tally Youngblood is the main character in “Uglies” by Scott Westerfeld. I think the name “Zayne” will be more popular, especially because of the British-Irish boy band One Direction and one of their members is named “Zayn.”

MeganElaine Says:

May 13th, 2012 at 9:01 pm

I’m *afraid* of trendy names! For all the reasons already mentioned. I grew up with Jennifer’s, Melissa’s, Kristen’s/ Christy’s and I would like to choose more unique names for my children– like stay away from Navaeh, Lily, Isabel, etc… Although I think all names have the potential of becoming trendy. I am loving some vintage girly names right now, like Pearl and Josephine– and I’m reading that those will be the trends in 30 years!

The other side of me says to just go with your gut, be it a family name or a name you have loved a long time. In the end, those are names that stand out the most for me– and no matter what happens down the road, I think I’ll be happy with my choice.

Mara_lyn86 Says:

August 20th, 2012 at 6:24 pm

I think the vintage names will actually become trendy fairly soon. They are trendy with the hip people in certain areas, but within a few years those names will become more common and widespread. I think that will be interesting to see more little kids with vintage names, because vintage names are lovely. Some vintage names will never become hits though.
I would like to avoid trends but if I really like a trendy name and can’t think of giving the name up I would still use it. I get my inspiration for naming from stories instead of the media, but like to follow what celebrities name their children because it is funny to see all their strange names.

dixie2010 Says:

February 11th, 2013 at 1:03 pm

I am a Jennifer as well. aka Jenny. Born on the late 70’s. We are everywhere. So when it came time to name my daughter, I wanted something that was different & not trendy. However, between my husband’s “no’s”, feed from friends/family, endless searches through websites & books, I chose Hadley June, which is trendy with the “ley” ending and middle name of June which is also quite popular. Although I knew Hadley was becoming trendy, it was the only name we could agree on, and know of course, it fits her perfectly. But I wonder as she grows up if she will feel like her name is common & trendy with all of the other trendy little surnames as first names & “ley” ending names!!!

NameLoverC80 Says:

June 29th, 2013 at 11:45 pm

I would avoid trendy names such as Nevaeh and Aiden. Not only do I dislike them but I think that they are not names that would age well. Can you imagine seventy year old Nevaeh and her husband Aiden? Depending on how things go they could find themselves sounding washed out. Some trendy names such as Isabella, Emma, James and Olivia should be fine to use because they date well. They may find themselves being called Isabella T. or Emma J. but if you really love the name that shouldn’t be too much of a problem. People would also be able to pronounce and spell Emma, Isabella, James and Olivia. So, I’d say that the classical names that happen to be in at the moment are usable but Neveah type names might not end too well.

benjamelissa Says:

July 22nd, 2013 at 8:45 am

I swing all over the place when it comes to names. Benjamin and I (Melissa), decided together our son’s names. First born is Jamin Taylor. Jamin I read in the Bible (a son of Simeon) and loved that it was the last 5 letters of Benjamin. Hubby chose Taylor because it was my maiden name. I wanted to honor him and he wanted to honor me. Four years later Son #2 came along and my husband was big into ancestry. He was researching his maternal line and their surname was Austin. So we decided Austin was good a name as any. The middle name was harder. I had name block. I bounced from Austin James to Austin Nathanael to Austin Tyler. But nothing grabbed me, you know. So my husband came home from work on Monday and suggested Austin Healey. A suggestion from a co-worker. Healey fit the unique requirement I wanted. So we went with it. Austin Healey was born the very next day. I know, I know, it’s a British sports car. But how many other boys named Austin Healey are out there?

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