1. AMITY. (AM-ih-tee) Okay, some of you may think “as in Amityville Horror?” But consider this: By the time your little girl hits the playground, that movie based on a true story (circa 1974) will be an outdated reference. Plus, simple, old-fashioned virtue names like Faith and Grace have been trendy for awhile, so they’re starting to feel a little overplayed. Amity taps into the same idea (it means friendship) but is completely original. And the three syllables with an initial vowel give it a softer, more feminine sound.
Not ready to go all the way to Amity? Try HOPE.
2. VARYA. (VAHR-ee-ah) This is a name you can believe in. Okay, we know that phrase is overused, but this name certainly isn’t. The Obama family inspired a multicultural baby-name-boom: Beyond Barack (a Hebrew name that he inherited from his Kenyan father), think of his daughters’ names, the Russian Sasha and the Hawaiian Malia. If you want to jump on the bandwagon with stealth, go with Varya. Like Sasha, it’s a Russian nickname—short for the rhythmic Varvara, the Russian version of Barbara.
Not ready to go all the way to Varya? Try SASHA.
3. TULIP. Maybe it has to do with the eco-trend, but parents are picking all kinds of flower-inspired names: Lily, Rose and Violet, for example. Tulip is the perfect alternative—we love that it almost just feels like an endearing nickname.
Not ready to go all the way to Tulip? Try DAISY.
4. ALOISA. (al-oh-EE-sah) Aloisa has several things going for it: It starts with A, which is nearly a guarantee of appeal these days; it’s super-feminine; it’s a grownup name and it’s also a distinctive spin on up-and-coming choices like Eloise.
Not ready to go all the way to Aloisa? Try LOUISA.
5. CRESSIDA. (KRESS-ih-dah) If you’re an English buff, you might remember this name from Shakespeare’s Troilus and Cressida, which is laden with Greek mythological characters. Cressida is the love interest of Troilus during the Trojan War, but she plays hard-to-get. (Hey, we like a girl with standards.) Besides its literary cache, the name is also a chic stand-in for the always popular Jessica.
Not ready to go all the way to Cressida? Try CHLOE.
1. HAMISH. (HAY-mish) Hamish is a Scottish name popular in Britain but nearly unheard of here (at least, among those who aren't The Hunger Games fans), where it feels kind of exotic but stable and well-grounded.
Not ready to go all the way to Hamish? Try MALCOLM.
2. ADLAI. (AD-lye) Any history nerds in the house? Adlai is a long neglected Old Testament name and in Hebrew means "refuge." (It's also connected with defeated 1950s presidential candidate Stevenson, but they, that was way back in the day).
Not ready to go all the way to Adlai? Try ASHER.
3. LORCAN. (LOR-kin) Irish names such as Aidan and Logan have enjoyed a meteoric rise, and this fresh choice, which means “fierce,” is ideal to follow in their footsteps.
Not ready to go all the way to Lorcan? Try LOGAN.
** 4. FRANK**. Straight out of the Top 10 list circa 1922, Frank feels like a grandpa—or great-grandpa—name, but it doesn’t carry the baggage of names like Stanley and Ralph. The name’s old-fashioned roots give it modern-day sexiness.
Not ready to go all the way to Frank? Try JOE.
5. CASSIAN. (KASH-an) We saved the best for last. Cassian has evolved from a Latin clan name to an Irish saint’s name, which translates as curly-headed. Even if your little tyke doesn’t have ringlets, this name starts with a C for cool and is ready for import.
Not ready to go all the way to Cassian? Try JULIAN.