Mystery Monday: Fashionette

baby name fashionette

Ready for a mystery from the ’80s? Today’s mystery baby name is Fashionette, which popped up in the SSA data for three consecutive years in the 1980s:

  • 1989: unlisted
  • 1988: 6 baby girls named Fashionette
  • 1987: 15 baby girls named Fashionette
  • 1986: 7 baby girls named Fashionette [debut]
  • 1985: unlisted

Why? I don’t know!

Research tells me that “Fashionette” was the name of a hair net introduced in the 1900s, a novelty song [vid] popular in the 1920s, and an air conditioner introduced by General Electric in the 1960s.

It’s also been used as the name of various local businesses (particularly beauty salons, clothing stores, and sewing stores) and at least one online business (a designer handbag store).

But what the heck was it in the 1980s? What turned Fashionette into a baby name?

The SSA’s state-by-state data doesn’t offer any clues, but records suggest that more than a few of those ’80s Fashionettes were born in Texas. (One had the very Texas-sounding first-middle combo “Dallas Fashionette.”)

So, I’m stumped. Do you have any theories about where the name Fashionette came from?

Some Place-Names from the Western U.S.

jackpot, idaho, place name

In late December, not long after a short stay in New Orleans, my husband and I took a road trip through several states. Along the way I spotted some interesting place-names, mostly in Utah:

  • Little America, Wyoming – named after a local hotel whose name was inspired by the “Little America” exploration base in Antarctica.
  • Jackpot, Nevada – a casino town cleverly named to attract business.
  • Pahranagat Valley, Nevada – named for the local Native American tribe. Theories about the meaning include: “watermelon,” “squash,” “people of the marshy spring,” “put their feet in the water.”
  • Hurricane, Utah – named by an early settler whose buggy-top was blown off by a gust of wind. Locals pronounce it hurrakin.
  • Browse, Utah – possibly named for a 1930s Forest Service research study of local plants used as food by browsing animals.
  • Kolob Canyons, Utah – named after LDS star/planet Kolob.
  • Kanarraville, Utah – named after Piute chief Canarrah (or Quanarrah).
  • Farr West, Utah – named after Mormon pioneers Lorin Farr and Chauncey West. It was also reminiscent of the name of an earlier Mormon town: Far West, Missouri.
  • Elsinore, Utah – named after Helsingør, Denmark (known as Elsinore in English).
  • Loa, Utah – named after Mauna Loa, the volcano in Hawaii.

Elsinore caught my eye because it seemed like a mashup of the names Elsie and Eleanor. Even though it’s never appeared in the SSA data, records suggest that several hundred people in the U.S. have been named Elsinore. (Here are the graves of various Elsinores buried in California, Florida, Pennsylvania, Washington, Minnesota, and, yes, Utah.) The usage might be attributable to Shakespeare, who set Hamlet in a castle in Elsinore.

Source: Carlson, Helen S. Nevada Place Names: A Geographical Dictionary. Reno: University of Nevada Press, 1974.

Contrarian Baby Names: Cliff, Janet, Steve, Wanda…

contrarian baby names, uncool baby names

“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.

Contrarian Baby Names: Girls

Alberta
Anita
Ann
Annetta
Annette
Bambi
Becky
Benita
Bertha
Bessie
Beth
Betty
Beverley
Beverly
Blanche
Bobbie
Bobby
Bonita
Candy
Caren
Carlene
Carol
Carole
Cary
Caryn
Cathleen
Cathy
Charla
Charlene
Charmaine
Cheri
Cherie
Cheryl
Chris
Christi
Cindy
Claudette
Coleen
Colleen
Connie
Dale
Danette
Danita
Darlene
Dawn
Dawna
Deanne
Debbie
Debora
Debra
Deirdre
Delores
Denice
Denise
Diane
Dianna
Dianne
Dollie
Dolores
Dona
Donna
Doreen
Dori
Doris
Dorthy
Eddie
Edwina
Ernestine
Ethel
Gail
Gayle
Gena
Geralyn
Germaine
Gilda
Glenda
Glenna
Harriett
Jackie
Janet
Janice
Janis
Jayne
Jean
Jeanette
Jeanie
Jeanine
Jeanne
Jeannette
Jeannie
Jeannine
Jeri
Jerri
Jerry
Jill
Jimmie
Jo
Joan
Joann
Joanne
Jodi
Jody
Joellen
Joni
Juanita
Judi
Judy
Juli
Kandi
Karin
Kathie
Kathy
Kay
Kaye
Kerrie
Kerry
Kim
Kimberley
Kitty
Kris
Kristi
Ladonna
Laureen
Lauretta
Laurie
Lavonne
Lee
Leesa
Lois
Lorene
Lori
Lorie
Lorinda
Lorna
Lorraine
Lorrie
Lou
Louann
Lu
Luann
Luanne
Lucretia
Lupe
Lyn
Lynda
Lynn
Lynne
Madonna
Marcia
Marcy
Margie
Mariann
Marianne
Marla
Marsha
Maryjo
Maureen
Meg
Melba
Melinda
Melva
Michele
Migdalia
Mitzi
Myrna
Nanette
Nelda
Nicki
Nita
Norma
Pamela
Patrice
Patsy
Patti
Patty
Pauline
Peggy
Pennie
Phyllis
Randy
Reba
Rene
Rhonda
Rita
Robbie
Robbin
Roberta
Robin
Rochelle
Ronda
Rosanne
Roseann
Roxane
Roxann
Sandy
Saundra
Sharon
Sheila
Shelia
Shelley
Shelly
Sheri
Sherri
Sherry
Sheryl
Shirley
Sondra
Sue
Susanne
Suzan
Suzanne
Tammie
Tammy
Tena
Teri
Terri
Terry
Thelma
Theresa
Therese
Tina
Tonia
Tonya
Tracey
Traci
Tracie
Tracy
Treva
Trina
Trudy
Velma
Verna
Vicki
Vickie
Vicky
Wanda
Wendy
Willie
Wilma
Yolanda
Yvonne

Contrarian Baby Names: Boys

Adolph
Al
Alford
Alphonso
Arne
Arnie
Arnold
Artie
Barry
Barton
Bennie
Bernard
Bernie
Bert
Bill
Billie
Bob
Bobbie
Brad
Bradford
Brent
Bret
Britt
Bud
Buddy
Burl
Burt
Butch
Carey
Carleton
Carlton
Carmen
Carroll
Cary
Cecil
Chester
Chuck
Clarence
Claude
Cletus
Cleveland
Cliff
Clifford
Clifton
Columbus
Curt
Curtiss
Dale
Dan
Dana
Dannie
Darrel
Darryl
Daryl
Dave
Davie
Del
Delbert
Dell
Delmer
Denny
Derwin
Dewey
Dirk
Don
Donnie
Donny
Doug
Douglass
Doyle
Duane
Dudley
Duwayne
Dwain
Dwaine
Dwane
Dwight
Earl
Earnest
Ed
Edsel
Elbert
Ernie
Farrell
Floyd
Fred
Freddie
Fredric
Gale
Garland
Garry
Garth
Gene
Geoffrey
Gerard
Gerry
Gilbert
Glen
Glenn
Greg
Gregg
Greggory
Grover
Guy
Hal
Haywood
Herbert
Herman
Homer
Horace
Howell
Hubert
Irwin
Jackie
Jame
Jeff
Jefferey
Jeffry
Jerald
Jerold
Jess
Jim
Jimmie
Jodie
Jody
Johnie
Johnnie
Karl
Kelly
Ken
Kenney
Kennith
Kent
Kermit
Kerry
Kim
Kirk
Kraig
Kurt
Laurence
Lawrance
Len
Lenard
Lennie
Les
Leslie
Lester
Lindell
Lindsay
Lindsey
Linwood
Lloyd
Lonnie
Lonny
Loren
Lorin
Lowell
Loyd
Lynn
Marion
Marty
Matt
Maxie
Mel
Merle
Merrill
Mickel
Mickey
Millard
Milton
Mitch
Mitchel
Monty
Neal
Ned
Nicky
Norbert
Norman
Norris
Orville
Perry
Pete
Phil
Ralph
Randal
Randel
Randell
Randolph
Rayford
Rick
Rickey
Rickie
Rob
Robby
Robin
Rock
Rodger
Rogers
Rojelio
Rolf
Ron
Roosevelt
Rudolfo
Rudolph
Rufus
Russ
Rusty
Sal
Sammie
Sandy
Sanford
Scot
Sherman
Sherwood
Skip
Stan
Stanford
Steve
Stevie
Stewart
Stuart
Sylvester
Tad
Ted
Terence
Thurman
Tim
Timmothy
Timmy
Tod
Todd
Tom
Tommie
Toney
Tracey
Tracy
Val
Vernell
Vernon
Waymon
Wendell
Wilbert
Wilbur
Wilford
Wilfred
Willard
Willis
Winfred
Woody

Interestingly, thirteen of the names above — Bobbie, Cary, Dale, Jackie, Jimmie, Jody, Kerry, Kim, Lynn, Robin, Sandy, Tracey, Tracy — managed to make both lists.

Now some questions for you…

Do you like any of these names? Would you be willing to use any of them on a modern-day baby? Why or why not?

The Start of Wynonna

wynonna, music, baby name, 1980s

The name Winona has been in the U.S. baby name data since the very beginning, but the specific spelling Wynonna didn’t show up until the mid-1980s:

  • 1987: unlisted
  • 1986: 6 baby girls named Wynonna
  • 1985: 5 baby girls named Wynonna [debut]
  • 1984: unlisted

What was the influence?

Country singer Wynonna Judd. She and her mother, Naomi Judd, formed The Judds in the early ’80s and the duo won a Grammy Award in 1985 for the song “Mama He’s Crazy.”

The name saw peak usage in 1993, not long after Wynonna began her solo career.

Wynonna’s birth name was Christina Ciminella. She was inspired to change her name after her mother, previously known as Diana Ciminella, became Naomi Judd in the early ’70s following a divorce. (‘Judd’ was her maiden name, but ‘Naomi’ was brand new.)

She chose the name ‘Wynonna’ because she liked the song “(Get Your Kicks on) Route 66,” which mentions Winona, Arizona.

(Naomi tried to persuade her younger daughter, Ashley, to change her name as well — to ‘Ramona,’ because of its similarity to ‘Wynonna.’ She wasn’t interested, but she did start to use the surname ‘Judd.’)

The name dropped out of the data in the early 2000s, but has come back recently:

  • 2017: 20 baby girls named Wynonna
  • 2016: 5 baby girls named Wynonna
  • 2015: unlisted

Why? Because of the supernatural Western TV series Wynonna Earp, which debuted on Syfy in 2016.

What are your thoughts on the baby name Wynonna? Do you like the spelling?

Source: Millard, Bob. The Judds: A Biography. New York: Doubleday, 1988.

Popular Baby Names in Victoria, 2018

According to Births, Deaths and Marriages Victoria, the most popular baby names in the Australian state of Victoria in 2018 were Olivia and Oliver.

Here are Victoria’s top 10 girl names and top 10 boy names of 2018:

Girl Names
1. Olivia, 374 baby girls
2. Charlotte, 367
3. Amelia, 365
4. Mia, 358
5. Ava, 332
6. Isla, 290
7. Zoe, 287
8. Chloe, 277
9. Grace, 257
10. Matilda, 250

Boy Names
1. Oliver, 507 baby boys
2. Jack, 463
3. William, 463
4. Noah, 355
5. Thomas, 345
6. Henry, 331
7. Leo, 314
8. Ethan, 295
9. Liam, 270 (tie)
10. Charlie, 270 (tie)

In the girls’ top 10, Matilda replaces Evie (now tied for 11th). Here’s what Attorney-General Jill Hennessy had to say about Matilda:

“For the first time ever, for example, the name Matilda has made it into the top 10.

“Whether that’s because parents simply love that name or it’s a product of the wonderful book, film and now musical of Matilda, I simply don’t know.”

In the boys’ top 10, Leo and Liam replace Lucas (now 13th) and James (now 15th).

In 2017, the top two names were Charlotte and Oliver.

Sources: Search popular names – Births, Deaths & Marriages Victoria, Victoria’s most popular baby names for 2018 revealed