Timeless Yet Trendy Baby Names

Vintage Portrait of two Babies in an Old Fashioned Antique Baby Carriage Buggy
Fashionable yet personal. Appealing yet unique. These are the golden means for baby names. What about timeless yet trendy?

One might think timeless and trendy are opposites that can never co-exist, but often the term “trendy” is used interchangeably with “faddish”. There is a subtle difference between trendy and faddish.

Many parents will insist they don’t want a trendy name, but most people are influenced by the trends. And that’s not always a bad thing. A trendy name isn’t necessarily a bad name. When parents say they don’t want a trendy name, what they really mean is they don’t want a fad name.

Semantics aside, I could think of a few timeless-trendy names off the top of my head. I made it my mission to find more timeless-trendy names. These names are more plentiful than one might realize.

Names that are timeless yet trendy fit current trends, such as popular vowels, letter-endings and themes, but were used occasionally before they followed a popular trend. Some are on the rise and others are on the decline. Either way, timeless-trendy names were familiar long before they followed the trends.

When deciding how familiar names were at any given time, I check the Social Security top 1000 baby names from 1880 (the earliest year data is available) to 2012. Timeless names don’t see a lot of dramatic peaks and troughs in popularity; their rankings remain relatively steady. Most timeless names have never left top 500 since 1880, but ideally the name should have never dipped below the top 300. (This is the same criteria I used to decide what I consider an underused classic name.) Fad names, however, come and go. Fad names were obscure, most likely outside the top 1000, and then suddenly skyrocket in popularity or go through dramatic changes in popularity.

None of the timeless-trendy names on this list have had any dramatic popularity spikes since 1880, (but some may have had some gentle peaks and troughs, as most names do). Girls are coded pink, boys are coded blue, and unisex names are coded green.

Name Trend(s) Highest Rank Lowest Rank 2012 Rank
Adrian Ends in N #56 in 2011 #663 in 1884 #60
Alexander Letter X #4 in 2009 #233 in 1959 #9
Antonio Ends in O #71 in 1976 #976 in 1894 #118
Calvin Letters L & V / Ends in N #44 in 1924 #231 in 2009 #189
Carmen Ends in N #141 in 1968 (on girls*) #752 in 1882 (on girls) #331 (on girls)
Evelyn Letters L & V / Ends in N #10 in 1915 #289 in 1977 #27
Faith Word Name #48 in 2002 Below #1000 in 1883 & 1887 #75
Felix Letter X / Vintage #137 in 1884 #394 in 2002 #316
Hope Word Name #144 in 1999 Below #1000 in 1888 #220
Ivan Letter V / Ends in N #113 in 2012 #404 in 1881 #113
Julia Long U #26 in 1880 #142 in 1977 #65
Julian Ends in N / Long U #50 in 2011 #367 in 1962 #53
Laura Letter L / Vintage #10 in 1969 #280 in 2012 #280
Leo Letter L / Ends in O #38 in 1903 #486 in 1995 #134
Lillian Letter L / Ends in N #10 in 1889-91 #486 in 1978 #25
Lorenzo Letter L / Ends in O #240 in 1880 #459 in 1919 #307
Lucia Letter L / Long U #240 in 2011 #729 in 1974 #248
Lucy Letter L / Long U / Vintage #44 in 1880-81 #588 in 1978 #66
Martin Ends in N / Vintage #45 in 1818 #265 in 2012 #265
Max Letter X #96 in 2011 #419 in 1969 #105
Molly Nickname Names #74 in 1991 #499 in 1898 #90
Naomi Vowel Dominant #81 in 2012 #421 in 1969 #81
Nathan Ends in N #20 in 2004-05 #273 in 1947 #29
Olivia Letters O, L & V / 4 syllables #3 in 2009 #543 in 1971 #4
Owen Letter O, Ends in N #38 in 2012 #520 in 1970 #38
Simon Ends in N / Vintage #142 in 1886 & 1888 #556 in 1965 #255
Veronica Letter V / 4 syllables #68 in 1983 #465 in 1880 #316
Victoria Letter V / 4 syllables #16 in 1998-99 #269 in 1936 #28

* Carmen has historically been a lot less popular on boys than girls. Carmen on boys has spent the past few decades outside the top 1000. It peaked on boys at #308 in 1928.

Many of these names rank in the top 50 now, which might be too popular for those seeking something different. Three of these names appear on the upswing and peaked just last year: Ivan, Naomi, and Owen.

But what these names lack in uniqueness, they make up for in staying power. These names have other selling points besides following a trend. The names on the list that are popular now, are more likely to endure over time long after the trend has run its course.

Not all names on this list are common. Some are even on the way down, such as Veronica and Victoria, despite their current trend appeal. There are two names from this list that hit their lowest rank in 2012: Laura and Martin.

Regardless of where these names fall on a numbered list, they all suit a person through every stage of life and as a bonus happen to be very current.

Readers: Which timeless yet trendy name is your favorite? Are there any other names you would add to this list?

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  1. Anonymous says:

    How do you pronounce Naomi? I can’t seem to get 4 syllables out of it.

  2. Livlife says:

    With the exception of Carmen, which I have honestly never heard of for a boy, these are all solidly male or female names. I wonder if that contributes to the timelessness? Names that are genuinely unisex or get “stolen” by the girls tend to not have that classic feel to them.

    I would feel comfortable using most of these names. They aren’t on my list, but they are names I could easily picture on a child.

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