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What Happened to Hipster Baby Names?

September 27, 2015 Abby Sandel

By Abby Sandel

Last week, Toronto’s Alex Davey released the Hipster Baby Name Generator. I’m obsessed with the generator’s small batch baby names. How great are Scout Fitz Perry, Blanche Alette Lulu, and Edith Lemon Tulip?

At the same time, writer Neil Gaiman and musician Amanda Palmer – hipster royalty, if there is any such thing – welcomed their first child, a boy named Anthony.

Anthony!

It’s a great name, but it’s a classic, used steadily throughout the English-speaking world for generations.

If you’d asked me to guess the name of a Gaiman-Palmer kiddo, I’d have gone straight to the Generator. Oscar Schorl Bean, maybe, or Ernest Archibald Remus. After all, Gaiman has chosen character names as innovative as Coraline and Yvaine.

Yesterday’s so-called hipster baby names are today’s Top 100 choices and fast-rising favorites. If Mabel has gone mainstream, maybe the hippest baby naming choice is to play it safe. Are buttoned-down names like Anthony and Caroline, Anne and James, now the style stand-outs?

Maybe so, because this week’s baby name news was filled with choices straight out of the Hipster Baby Name Generator.

Cleo Simone Cleo was big in the 1910s, but still feels more modern than vintage. And Simone brings to mind singer Nina Simone. Together, it’s a cool combination that would be right at home in Silver Lake or Williamsburg. But Names for Real spotted this combination in a recent birth announcement in South Dakota.

Arlo Day Gossip Girl alum Leighton Meester and husband Adam Brody are new parents to Arlo Day. Just like former co-star Blake Lively, Leighton chose a traditionally masculine name for her new daughter. Arlo Day would be an edgy, interesting name for a boy – it’s doubly daring for a girl.

Arden – Earlier this week, Arden was on Nameberry’s tag cloud as both a boy name and a girl name. The name was given to 243 girls in 2014, versus just 94 boys. But it’s rising quickly as a boy’s name in the US.

Athena Belle Goddess names were once rare for real girls. But when designer Stacey Bendet and producer Eric Eisner announced the name of their third daughter, it wasn’t an extreme style statement. Athena Belle joins big sisters Eloise Breckenridge and Scarlet Haven.

Eugene – Is Eugene so uncool that it’s cool again? This week brought birth announcements for Clarence Eugene and Eugene Gisselle. Is that a girl named Eugene? The name has fallen dramatically since the 1920s, but maybe Eugene has finally gone so far out, it’s in.

Gaia Rae and Evie Beryl – The Hipster Baby Name Generator tends towards longer names, but lately I find some of the coolest names are short. Short on sounds and letters – nicknames instead of formal names and single syllables rather than Olivia or Isabella. Just like these two, both found in Indiana birth announcements.

Odette Rose – Not too long ago, Odette made headlines as the ultimate hipster baby name for girls. But Odette – along with cousins Otis, Otto, and Ottoline – has been attracting more attention from parents who aren’t necessarily clustered in Park Slope. A birth announcement for Odette Rose recently appeared in Waltzing More than Matilda’s Australian round-up.

Bix – A recent Nameberry Baby Name of the Day, Bix comes from jazz Bix Beiderbecke – born Leon Bismark Beiderbecke. In his day, he was among the most influential jazz musicians of the 1920s. Bix died young, so perhaps that’s why he’s not better known. It’s the ultimate recipe for a Hipster Baby Name.

Milo, Eliot, and Plum – One of my favorite places for spotting bold and creative baby names? Design Mom’s Living with Kids series. Gabrielle Blair features home tours from stylish families, like this recent profile of blogger Miranda Anderson’s Austin home. She and her husband are parents to sons Milo and Eliot, and daughter Plum. What a great sibset!

Do you often find the names you love described as hipster? Do you think the label has any meaning in 2015?

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.

View all of Abby's articles

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