Every decade or two the name landscape transforms. New names are on the way in. Old names are on the way out. But as names rise and fall, the qualities parents seek in baby names remain constant. As a result, today’s top names share subtle similarities with yesterday’s top names.
While there will always be names that are undeniably dated, and should stay in old year books, others are unfairly dated, often overlooked, typecast as names of parents or grandparents. This is unfortunate. These names, because they peaked during a certain decade, may not generate short-term excitement but, in the long-term, their timeless and sometimes modern attributes make them stand-out.
Beverly – Look no further than the prominent v shared with Ava, Evelyn, and Olivia. Bev may be your elderly neighbor, but close your eyes and imagine Bev on someone under 30 and Bev becomes super-chic.
Jessica – If Jessica Simpson and Jessica Alba reinforce the name’s mom-image, consider Oscar winners Jessica Tandy and Jessica Lange and suddenly Jessica can fit any age. With Shakespearean roots and a classically feminine sound, Jessica is fitting for some contemporary babies, despite its overexposure in the 80s.
Gregory – A handsome underused choice, with saintly significance and old Hollywood charm from Gregory Peck. Yet there are enough grown-up Gregory‘s to dilute the the famous association, making Gregory imaginable on many.
Kenneth – Sturdy and strong, this is another Scottish style-maker.
When looking for baby names, many modern parents seek the unexpected yet fashionable. The challenge with unexpected and fashionable names is that they are paradoxes. These names’ fashionable qualities make them susceptible to discovery, eliminating the surprise element.
Granted, unfairly dated names aren’t fashionable at the moment. But there’s no denying that — on children — they have that surprise element. The future is uncertain, but I believe these names are too attractive to stay dated. After a few years out of spotlight, these names will get rediscovered and will probably end up on future grandchildren.
Which unfairly dated names do you feel will come back first?
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