More Names Like Miles and Brooks: The Search for Alternatives

Jun 21st 2017


Some baby names have a special spark. They hit a style bullseye and make us wish, "If only there were more names like that!"

Our "Alternatives" series looks at these objects of desire, the baby names that send waves of parents to the Internet searching for more of the same. In reviewing the more-like-that names I noticed two with a lot in common, Miles and Brooks. They're both fashionable boys' names with some obvious similarities, but also key differences that give each a unique impact.

First, the common ground. Miles and Brooks are:

1. One-syllable names ending in S;

2. Formal, sophisticated names with no obvious nicknames;

3. Not -S extensions of classic male names (a la Williams, Adams);

4. Familiar with a traditional but uncommon feeling, thanks to long histories of occasional use with a few prominent examples;

5. Enjoying a new level of popularity today.

That's a lot for any pair of names to have in common. I'm sure that many parents who like one of the names are also drawn to the other. Yet no two names are alike, and even these two diverge in surprisingly significant ways:

1. Surname style. While Miles exists as a surname it is an age-old given name, a form of Milo. Brooks is a transferred surname, and that origin is front-and-center in its style.

2. Miles Davis vs. Brooks Brothers, aka jazzy vs preppy. Legendary clothier Brooks Brothers roots the name Brooks firmly in the world of blue blazers and blue blood. Legendary jazz musician Miles Davis pulls Miles in a more artistic direction.

3. All-American vs. more global. Brooks has mostly been used in the U.S. and Canada. Even its blue-blood image is of the American variety; note that Brooks Brothers bills itself as "the original authority on American style." The name Miles has a more global style, and is as much English as American.

4. Smooth vs. crisp. Miles is all smooth, worldly elegance. Brooks is crisp, crackling and precise.

Together Miles and Brooks lay out a spectrum of style, all within the narrow realm of classic, formal one-syllable male names ending in s. In hunting for names with similar appeal, I've divided the prospects into three groups: the smooth, artistic international given names; the crisp, preppy American surnames; and the cross-appeal names that could lure in parents coming from either direction.

SMOOTH, ARTISTIC, INTERNATIONAL GIVEN NAMES
Blaise
Giles
Graeme
Ives
Jules
Niels/Nils
Piers
Rhys

FLEXIBLE CROSS-APPEAL
Ames
Clemens
Davis
Eames
Gaines
Gray
Haines
Hayes
Hobbes
Keats
Mills
Pryce
Reeve/Reeves
Rhodes
Travers
Welles/Wells

CRISP, PREPPY, AMERICAN SURNAME
Banks
Barnes
Collins
Gates
Jenkins
Jennings
Oakes
Parks
Stiles
Wilkes
Yates

 

Read More: More Names Like Scarlett: The Search for Alternatives

 

 

 

 

The Girls' Names that Define Your State's Style

Jun 14th 2017

 
How many girls do you know named Raelynn? How about Juliana? In America as a whole the two baby names are equally common, but in your state one is probably much more popular than the other. They represent two very different local styles.

I set out to pinpoint such local styles by identifying the baby names that each state chooses at a rate far above the national average. When you look through the lists below I think you'll see distinctive regional trends emerge. Look for natural grandeur in Alaskan names like Aurora and Denali; throwback sweetness in Minnesotan names like Elsie and Greta; and even a firearms slant in Oklahoman names like Kimber and Remington.

Some of the names may surprise you, while others will feel like home. All of them are part of today's American baby name style. Be sure to check out the defining boys' names of your state too, for full local flavor.


Images: Bessie/Pixabay, Nadezhda1906/Shutterstock, mikebaird/flickr

THE DEFINING GIRLS' NAMES OF EVERY U.S. STATE
Alabama Ryleigh Mary Blakely Caroline
Alaska Aurora Denali Lena Chloe
Arizona Mia Ximena Sofia Leilani
Arkansas Blakely Paisley Kimber Kaydence
California Camila Mia Victoria Alexa
Colorado Aspen Cora Hazel Josephine
Connecticut Gianna Julia Brooke Charlotte
Delaware Riley Aubrey Elizabeth Ava
D.C. Alice Zoe Royal Maya
Florida Valentina    Gabriella Victoria Aaliyah
Georgia Ansley Skylar Londyn Taylor
Hawaii Kalea Mahina Aria Kailani
Idaho Oakley Brynlee Remington   Aspen
Illinois Natalia Emilia Maeve Sophia
Indiana Eleanor Hadley Willow Piper
Iowa Nora Quinn Emery Evelyn
Kansas Ember Lydia Hayden Oakley
Kentucky Hadley Aubree Adalynn Paisley
Louisiana Demi Camille Lyric Journee
Maine Natalie Lydia Piper Nora
Maryland Genesis Dakota Naomi Skylar
Massachusetts Maeve Grace Lucy Fiona
Michigan Brooklyn Mackenzie    Lillian Morgan
Minnesota Evelyn Greta Elsie Clara
Mississippi Mary Londyn Kennedi Khloe
Missouri Harper Stella Avery Josie
Montana Finley Aspen Lexi Ember
Nebraska Hadley Cora Lennon Hattie
Nevada Mia Athena Delilah Zoey
New Hampshire        Charlotte Lillian Isabelle Violet
New Jersey Esther Gabriella Miriam Samantha
New Mexico Natalia Serenity Ximena Nevaeh
New York Chaya Rachel Valentina Maya
North Carolina Emerson Sadie Skylar Caroline
North Dakota Addison Hazel Ella Harper
Ohio Lydia Quinn Kennedy Nora
Oklahoma Blakely Gentry Remington  Kimber
Oregon Ruby Aurora Penelope June
Pennsylvania Paige Lily Quinn Charlotte
Rhode Island Aria Juliana Violet Mila
South Carolina London Trinity Caroline McKenzie
South Dakota Brynlee Nora Emersyn Remi
Tennessee Paisley Piper Sadie Addison
Texas Camila Genesis Ximena Regina
Utah Oaklee Navy Kate Indie
Vermont Harper Charlotte Isabelle Wren
Virginia Abigail Skylar Annabelle Virginia
Washington Eleanor Audrey Aurora Olive
West Virginia Raelynn Paislee Kinsley Gracelynn
Wisconsin Nora Hazel Tenley Violet
Wyoming Piper Oakley Emmy Sawyer

 

 Read More: The Defining Boys' Names of Every State

 

The Boys' Names that Define Your State's Style

Jun 7th 2017


Baby name popularity charts give us an illusion of consensus. OK, yes, pretty much all of America likes the name Liam. But once you get past the top handful of names local tastes take over, and they're as diverse as the country itself.

To reveal these local tastes, I've compared state-by-state name popularity to nationwide trends, looking for the places where each community veers farthest from the common path. My targets were the names that define the unique style of every state in the union. Not only are these names individually popular in their listed states, but they help paint a general portrait of local style. An area that's partial to the names Adrian and Sebastian, for instance, will lean toward other elegant global names like Damian and Julian as well. Meanwhile a hotbed of Braxtons and Bentleys will also have plenty of boys named Jaxon and Brantley.


Images: Shutterstock/Karpova, Shutterstock/Tetiana Kovbasovska, Pixabay/rmt

Most of the names below will be familiar, but some may be new to you. If so, chances are there's a local story behind them. Paxson and Hatcher, for example, are place names in Alaska as well as perfect fits for Alaskan name trends. And for a trivia challenge, look for at least two names below that honor their states' college football stadiums.

Browse through to get a real taste of the diversity of American baby name style – and a sense of where you might feel most at home. 

THE DEFINING BOYS' NAMES OF EVERY U.S. STATE
Alabama William Karson Brantley John
Alaska Paxson Hatcher Logan Kyler
Arizona Jesus Santiago Julian José
Arkansas Rhett Bentley Grayson Case
California Mateo Julian Sebastian    Damian
Colorado Brecken Theodore Orion Wyatt
Connecticut Nicholas Ryan Cameron Connor
Delaware Michael Logan Caleb Ian
D.C. Henry Alexander    Max Samuel
Florida Jayden Jeremiah Lucas Thiago
Georgia Messiah Bryson Ashton King
Hawaii Ezekiel Kainoa Keanu Kai
Idaho Bridger Weston Lincoln Ridge
Illinois Theodore Jack Henry Leo
Indiana Lincoln Braxton Graham Nolan
Iowa Owen Kinnick Harrison Emmett
Kansas Hudson Rhett Hunter Lane
Kentucky Brantley Waylon Colton Jaxon
Louisiana Kingston Karter Luke Cohen
Maine Finn Wyatt Silas Owen
Maryland Dylan Camden Nathan Chase
Massachusetts Benjamin Jack Thomas Colin
Michigan Carter Blake Nolan Brady
Minnesota Henry Bennett Calvin Oliver
Mississippi Kingston John Princeton Karter
Missouri Henry Hudson August Easton
Montana Bridger Owen Ryker Lincoln
Nebraska Ryker Barrett Braxton Cooper
Nevada Sebastian    Adrian Damian Leonardo
New Hampshire      Owen Wesley Parker Jackson
New Jersey Matthew Moshe Joseph Nicholas
New Mexico Santiago Josiah Ezekiel Elijah
New York Moshe Nicholas Chaim Ryan
North Carolina Bryson Grayson William Landon
North Dakota Easton Oliver Beckett Asher
Ohio Carter Lincoln Grayson Grant
Oklahoma Jaxon Ryker Cooper Jett
Oregon Miles Ryder Henry Ezra
Pennsylvania Connor Chase Declan Cole
Rhode Island Julian Benjamin Michael Jameson
South Carolina Thomas Kingston Messiah James
South Dakota Sawyer Hudson Brooks Lincoln
Tennessee Elijah Waylon William Neyland
Texas Jose Juan Luis Angel
Utah Hyrum Porter Beckham Boston
Vermont Owen Wyatt Sawyer Oliver
Virginia James Jackson Charles Gabriel
Washington Theodore Henry Emmett Wesley
West Virginia Braxton Bentley Easton Colton
Wisconsin Henry Oliver Sawyer Jordy
Wyoming Wyatt Weston Corbin Bridger

 

Read More: The Girls' Names that Define Your State's Style