Where to Find a Cool Vintage Girl Name
So you’re looking for a cool vintage girls’ name. It has to have style. It has to have charm! It shouldn’t be common. You refuse to be scoffed at!
We get it. Yes, these seemingly elusive qualities are hard to capture all in one name, but hey, that’s why we’re here. We’ve identified one hundred vintage rarities—all outside the current US Top 1000—with potential for a 2020 (or beyond) baby.
One of our top tips is to go through decades-old popularity charts, where there are always interesting names that have since left the public conscious. We’ve chosen 1920, because according to the 100-Year Rule—the idea that names become fashionable every four generations or so—these are the names that should be coming back into style right around now.
Gone but Not Forgotten
As wild as it may seem to contemplate a name like Mildred or Ethel for your daughter, trust us, these names will come back again. Resuscitate one now and you run the risk of some whispers but give it ten years and everyone will wish they’d had your style foresight.
Many have potential to be rising stars of the decade, so buyer beware. We’ve recently noticed children of stylish parents answer to Goldie, Lula, and Sybil, and names such as Edna, Lois, and Henrietta are already making their ascent in the UK.
The Roaring ‘20s were ripe with sassy nicknames. Comb through the Top 1000 and you’ll encounter dozens of nickname-names you’ve never even heard of, such as Sudie and Ludie (originally short for Susanna and Ludicia), and Verdie and Virgie (diminutives of Verity and Virginia).
Of course, those four might not be the best candidates for revival—we highly advise against calling your daughter Virgie—but these twenty names deserve a second look:
Lest you think unisex names are a modern-day trend, behold, the boyish names of the 1920s! Parents frequently gave their daughters masculine names that rival even today’s gender-neutral standards (ever met a girl named Harold?).
We excluded many of the classic boys’ names that made the list for girls, including Charles, William, and Joseph. It remains hard for us to imagine a baby girl named Robert, although evidently, they existed! Who knows, maybe in another hundred years we’ll see bunches of little girls named Thomas and Clifford and Edward. For now, stick with Theo, Clyde, and Eddie.
The crop of international names in 1920 was not as diverse as it is today, being mainly made up of French, Spanish, and Italian names. We still love these long romantic names, but many have been incorporated into American culture for long, they hardly feel international anymore. It’s easy to forget that back in the day, names like Jeanette and Carmen were the height of exoticism.
The ‘20s have a leg up on the modern day when it comes to Japanese names though. 1920 was the end of a Japanese population boom in the US, and as such, a significant number of traditional Japanese names made the Top 1000.
None of these names were ever superstars, in fact, they were all ranked below the Top 250 in 1920. Each fell off the charts well before the 21st century and there have been little signs of revival since.
This is great news if you’re searching for a name that won’t be catapulted into the Top 1000, to eventually be sucked up by yupsters and suburbanites. These names are unique and they’re likely to stay that way.
What do you think are the coolest vintage girls’ names?
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on January 23rd, 2020 at 11:51 am
My great-grandma’s name was Tressie. She was born in 1911 and I’ve always liked her name. I also like Polly, Nan, Nettie, Dottie, Fern, and Rosamond.
on January 24th, 2020 at 9:50 am
Constance and Petra are two of my guilty pleasures!
on January 26th, 2020 at 6:50 am
These are my favorites out of the lists:
on January 26th, 2020 at 9:56 pm
I feel like some of those Hidden Gem names have the potential to rise, espeicially: Delphine, Geneva, Imogene, Lelia, Lenora (I actually know a baby Lenora nn Lenny), Petra & Rosella. Verona & Odessa are actually places very close to where I live, so to me they don’t sound all that strange.
I especially like: Goldie & Leona, Flossie & Effie, Billie & Ollie, Josefina & Rosalia, Geneva & Imogene (2 from each section). It’s so hard to believe Mildred & Ethel might be on their way back in! I find the sounds so unappealing!
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