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Vintage Modern Girl Names: Margot or Juliet?

May 2, 2017 Abby Sandel

 She says vintage; her partner prefers something more mainstream. Where’s the sweet spot?

Emma writes:

My partner and I are expecting our first together in less than two months! My partner has two daughters already; Olivia Sadie and Lucy Elena and I’ve got another Penelope Tilda. We’re team green, but I have a feeling it’s a girl (which probably means it’s a boy!)

For a boy, we are pretty sure on Hugo. The Hu- part is the first two letters of my MIL‘s maiden name (Hunter), and the -go are the first two letters of my mum’s maiden name (Gordon).

We’re having a lot more trouble with girl’s names. DP’s top name is Ava, which seems too popular. Her second top name is Evelyn, but it’s my goddaughter’s name, and I feel it’s too close for comfort.

My top name is Martha. DP hates it. My second choice would be Dorothy. DP finds it too vintage, and can’t get away from the Wizard of Oz association.

We do both love Felicity and Cecily, but our surnames are very ‘s’ heavy. We like, but don’t love Daphne, Elowen, Georgia, Rowena, Juliet, Delilah, Audrey, Eleanora, Vivian, Marina, Cora, and Arabelle.

Could you please give us some suggestions for this baby, if it’s a girl? Or even just tell us we’re being stupid and we’ve already looked over our perfect name!

The Name Sage replies:

First, may I say that Hugo from Hunter and Gordon is pure genius? It’s subtle, but meaningful. And Hugo makes a great brother name for Olivia, Lucy, and Penelope.

When it comes to girls’ names, it seems like your partner prefers more mainstream choices, while you’re willing to take a risk on the next antique revival. Evelyn is very much back. Dorothy is just starting to feel fresh again.

So what falls somewhere between Evelyn and Dorothy, but isn’t too close to the big sisters’ names? We’re looking for something traditionally feminine, and easily recognized as a given name. That means saying good-bye to Harlow and Haven and Juniper. And I think we’re probably avoiding nickname names, like Maisie and Elsie, too.

From your original list, I think Daphne, Georgia, and Juliet are all strong contenders. If you hadn’t listed them, I almost certainly would have!

But you asked for more ideas, so let’s consider some names that haven’t made your shortlist.

Ada Ada ranks Number 357 in the US, a good stands-out/fits-in choice. If your partner adores Ava, Ada might be a good substitute. It feels a little more vintage, and definitely less common.

Bianca Long and lovely Olivia sits near the top of the charts, while Bianca hovers just inside the Top 400. It’s every bit as Shakespearean and lovely, so it’s hard to say why we don’t hear more of Bianca. It reminds me of Marina from your maybe list.

Eloise – At Number 256 and climbing, plenty of parents love Eloise. But it remains far outside of the Top Ten names. You have Eleanora and Elowen on your list; Eloise might be a slightly more mainstream pick that shares the El sound.

GretaIf Cora and Georgia aren’t quite right, how about Greta? It’s one of those names that everyone recognizes, but nobody is using – it ranks Number 573.

Lena Lena might be too close to Lucy’s middle name. If that doesn’t bother you, it’s worth consideration. It feels sleek and modern, like your partner’s Ava, but also traditional, even vintage, like your Martha.

MargotSpeaking of names that bridge the vintage-modern gap, Margot does this gracefully. It’s just inside the current Top 600. Margaret might feel too buttoned-down, but Margot makes a great sister for Olivia, Lucy, and Penelope.

Sabrina Marina and Rowena make me think of Sabrina. It’s a poem, an Audrey Hepburn movie, and a surprisingly underused choice. Even in our age of Isabella and Sophia, Sabrina only ranks around the 350 mark. But will Sabrina work with your surname?

Vera – I’ve saved the best for last! Take Ava, add an antique patina, and you’ll have Vera. It has the same vivacious sound as Ava, but style-wise fits in better with Cora. At Number 312, Vera probably won’t have to share her name often, if at all.

I do think Vera works nicely as a sister for Olivia, Lucy, and Penelope. It combines qualities you both seem to want in a name.

But there are some great options on your maybe list, too. My favorite is probably Juliet. It gives all four girls a different ending to their names, and there’s not a trace of an ‘s’ to be heard.

Readers, what would you name a sister for Olivia, Lucy, and Penelope?

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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