Everything old is new again in baby names. As names data from the Social Security Administration shows, many parents have recently been choosing names popular in years long gone by—vintage names from the late 1800s through the mid-1900s—that eventually fell out of style. Old-fashioned names are cool again—retro is so now.
The names that are back are traditional and familiar, yet sound fresh. And, bonus: If you like the antique charm of one or two of the names on this list, chances are good you’ll take a fancy to several; they have a similar feel, and pair nicely. So if you’re pregnant, find one you like and start taking mental notes for future siblings.
All of the boys’ and girls’ names here popped up on the SSA’s list one or more times in the years noted above, and then fell out of favor, either dropping off the list entirely or falling significantly—until the last decade. Every name we’ve included saw significant growth in popularity from 2000 to 2010. But none of them has managed to eke their way into the Top 10 lists, so they’re not yet overused and are still ripe for the picking.
Read on to find the old-style name that suits you.
Origin/meaning: Latin, “Clear, bright”
Like Gertrude, Nellie, and Ida, Clara was for years a name that felt more church lady than classic and cool—but unlike some of its early contemporaries, it’s rebounded with modern parents. Soft and sweet—and reminiscent of Claire—it also follows the trend of popular girls’ names ending in the letter “a” (Check out the Top Names for Girls and note the first five: Isabella, Sophia, Emma, Olivia, Ava.) But it hasn’t cracked the Top 100 yet, so it still feels like a find. And little girls will heart the association with the famous Clara in the Nutcracker, the brave heroine who takes on the Mouse King.
Popularity in the last decade: