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?