The New Antique Generation

Jul 18th 2013

If you've ever heard a favorite song of your youth pop up on an "oldies" station, you know the facts of fashion life: the past doesn't sit still. That holds as true for antique-styled names as it does for grunge rock.

Ten years ago, you could count on the top "antique revival" names drawing U-shaped curves on the NameVoyager, which tracks name popularity since the 1880s. That means that their previous peaks had been in the 19th Century. Grace and Emma are excellent examples:

Parents are still mining the fashions of the 19th-century, but the times are starting to change. Many of the hottest new antique revivals had their heydays in the first quarter of the 20th Century. These new antiques still sound decidedly old-fashioned, but their style is shifting away from the Victorian sweetness of Emma and Grace. Names like Lola, Ruby and Leo are decidedly sassy. Everett, Adeline and Evelyn have a jaunty formality, like a straw boater hat.

The following names with previous peaks from 1900-1925 have risen sharply in the past decade, and now rank among the top 400 names for boys or girls:



Here's the curve they trace, more of a tilde than a U:

[graphs created with the Expert Edition NameVoyager]

What’s next? Some names from the early 20th Century with up-and-comer potential:



Then stay tuned for another 10-20 years, until the generation of Lois, Gene and Betty comes back around.


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