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Baby Name Rewind: Could One of These Retro Names Be Cool Again?

Thursday, February 7th, 2013

As part of a big project, I’ve been perusing the archives looking for gems in some old issues of the magazines. And naturally, I’m taking a special interest when the stories relate to baby names. Strangely enough, the recommendations haven’t changed much in the past 70 years: Think ahead to whether the name will wear well on an adult. Watch out for bad pop culture references and embarrassing monograms. Don’t pick a name that’s tough to pronounce or spell.

One particular story caught my eye, from a 1964 issue. It described a set of “gender-neutral” names that they’re saying would work for both boys and girls—for the parents too lazy to dream up two sets of names, back in the day before ultrasounds and gender reveal parties. They picked a name for just about every letter of the alphabet—excluding X—and they had some really intriguing choices. Would you consider any of these for your baby?

Abbott This one just made me think of that classic comedy duo Abbott and Costello. But if you’re looking for that “Abby” nickname without the standard Abigail, it might be an option.

Brooke Since the 60s, Brooke has fallen squarely in the girls’ column, currently residing in the top 100 baby names for girls (probably as an alternative to the popular Brooklyn).

Cabot This cute name may be too closely associated with the cheese company to make it a serious contender for a baby name.

Duncan I love this Scotch name, which means “dark warrior,” for a little boy—it’s a nice alternative to Aidan and Jaden.

Eagan This surname name  follows the latest trend—and it’s actually a variant on red-hot Aidan. It’s a good choice for a Camden or Mason lover.

Favre I think people are going to think that you’re a big Green Bay Packers fan if you pick this name, which brings to mind their legendary QB.

Gale Gale used to be a girly name—but Katniss’s best bud Gale in Hunger Games may help this make a comeback among the boys.

Heath For girls, I’d go for the more feminine Heather, but Heath makes a nice choice for a boy.

Ion Hmmm…not sure what they were thinking for this one. Iona or Ione (as in Ione Skye) are nice for girls, but this one feels a little too hip scientist for me.

Jay Jay is actually starting to see some girls using it, but it’s more commonly seen as a nickname for Jason, or now Jaden.

Kimberly Kim did used to be a boys’ name, but I’m thinking at this point, Kimberly is girls’ only–it’s still in the top 100 names for girls.

Leslie Alas, this one-time unisex name is now solely for ladies.

Mitchell I love Modern Family‘s Mitch enough to give this one my seal of approval—though not for the ladies.

Nolan This was one of my cool name of the week picks a few months back. Love the name, but not sure if it really works for a girl.

Olney This uncommon name is the name of a neighborhood in Philly and a town in Maryland. I’m wondering how this unusual moniker made their list, and not a name like Olive.

Paige This top 150 baby name is now strictly for the girls.

Quentin Quentin Tarantino has made this cool—but only for boys.

Reed You’ll see this moniker, which means red-haired, more on boys, but it could be a cool crossover if you’re game.

Sayre Maybe consider this as a more offbeat alternative to names like Sarah and Sawyer?

Trevor This name began its meteoric rise into the top 200 boys’ names right after the article came out. Maybe our magazine helped spur that along?

Udine This is the name of an Italian city. It may be a little too offbeat, especially with so many websites named u-something (i.e. UPromise.com, etc.).

Vaughn This surname-name has barely held on to the top 1000 names for boys. The only one I do know personally is a girl, though.

Wright I like this name’s association with the famous fathers of aviation—it lends it a cool, adventurer vibe. Consider it in place of the more commonplace Wyatt.

Yule Unless you’re having a Christmas baby, I’d probably skip this one.

Zale This would be an interesting choice, considering the red-hot “Z” and the popularity of names like Cale. But your child may find himself linked up with the chain of jewelry stores that bears this name.

Image: Baby in sunglasses by  Everett Collection / Shutterstock.com

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