“Everly” is hot…”Beverly” is not. It’s a one-letter difference between fashionable and fusty.
If you’re sensitive to style, you’ll prefer Everly. It fits with today’s trends far better than Beverly does.
But if you’re someone who isn’t concerned about style, or prefers to go against style, then you may not automatically go for Everly. In fact, you may be more attracted to Beverly because it’s the choice that most modern parents would avoid.
If you’ve ever thought about intentionally giving your baby a dated name (like Debbie, Grover, Marcia, or Vernon) for the sake of uniqueness within his/her peer group — if you have no problem sacrificing style for distinctiveness — then this list is for you.
Years ago, the concept of “contrarian” baby names came up in the comments of a post about Lois. Ever since then, creating a collection of uncool/contrarian baby names has been on my to-do list.
Finally, last month, I experimented with various formulas for pulling unstylish baby names out of the SSA dataset. Keeping the great-grandparent rule in mind, I aimed for names that would have been fashionable among the grandparents of today’s babies. The names below are the best results I got.
My friend just had her fifth child, a girl, after having 4 boys. I was shocked to learn she named her Stuart. Is this EVER a girl’s name?
Yes…but very rarely.
Neither Stuart nor Stewart has appeared in the national baby name data set* since the turn of the century, but they both popped up a number of times during the ’80s and ’90s:
Both names were used for girls before the ’80s as well.
How do you feel about parents using Stuart/Stewart for baby girls?
*To be included in the SSA data, a name has to be used at least five times per year for either one or the other gender. So non-inclusion means that anywhere from 0 to 4 babies (of that specific gender) got the name that year.
A reader named Rachel is expecting a baby boy. She says:
We had two girls’ names that I adored — Jane and Marjorie. Both of these are very uncommon (400s for Jane, not in top 1000 for Marjorie!) yet are utterly familiar (and unpretentious).
I am completely unable to find a boys’ name that fits that bill. All of the familiar, classic names are common. All of the uncommon names make me fear trendiness; few have that classic simplicity.
To add another wrinkle, if possible we’d like to honor a relative with an S-name. The only two I’ve found that I like so far are Samuel (but so common) and Silas (uncommon, but maybe trying too hard?) Other contenders are Henry and Edmund.
How funny — as soon as I read that second paragraph, the name Henry popped into my head.
I don’t think Silas is necessarily one of those “trying too hard”-types of names. (Unlike, say, Ptolemy.) But it will sound more natural in some areas than in others. Are future playmates going to have names like Victoria and Robert, or names like Jayden and Kayla? That could make a huge difference to a boy named Silas.
Here are a few other S-names that might be tempting (along with current rankings, for those in the top 1,000):
And, along with Edmund and Henry, here are some non-S-names that could work:
What other names would you suggest to Rachel?
Update: The baby is here! Scroll down to find out what name Rachel chose.