Names Like William

March 6th, 2013

From William the Conquerer to Sweet William to, he’s a name with many hats.  William is going to be very much on everyone’s minds this year, as we watch to see what the crown prince calls his first child.  If it’s a boy, I’d be a bit surprised if the name isn’t on the list below.

Someone in the Olivia post brought up a good point:  common names are well liked for a reason.  They roll off the tongue, they appeal to everyone.  Interjecting with less common names by definition will not have the same level of acceptance.  But if you’re here reading, perhaps there’s one or two that will pique your interest, or that you and your partner can agree on.  At least, that’s my hope.














Brothers: Ambrose, Albert, John (not Jack), Peter, Robert

Sisters: Annabel, Hermione, Imogen, Petula, Verity (going Britishy here, can you tell?)


Sweet William Lithograph here

Names Like Olivia

February 23rd, 2013

It’s time to get back to our “Names Like…” series.  Today is Olivia’s day.  Gorgeous Olivia Newton-John planted the name in our childhood brains as we watched her go from sweet to saucy in Grease.  I always wished my own parents had named me Oilvia, and I still think it’s gorgeous, and strikingly unusual on a thirties gal.  From Spain to Sweden, she works well in almost any Western country, and has ancient pedigree to back her up.

Many people have started to turn to Olive.  I have met a few in person under 4, and there are Isla Fischer and Drew Barrymore’s Olives.  Such a different vibe for being so similar, no???

Always loved Olivia, but prefer something more unusual?  Try these on for size:









Odilia (and her cognates Ottilie, Odette, Odile)




Viola, Violet


Sisters: Flora, Francesca, Gwendolyn, Rosa, Wilhelmina

Brothers: Arthur, Hugo, Joaquin, Luca, Matteo


What would you use in lieu of Olivia?  If you have a little Olivia, what did you call her sibling? 


Pictured: Embroidered name hoop by Etsy artist Merriweather Council


Names Like Emma

November 8th, 2012

Names like Emma.  It’s a tricky one.  From a Jane Austen novel to the set of Friends, she’s sweetly old-fashioned and yet terribly modern.  She’s worn by young starlets, Stone, Roberts, and Watson, and yet for many of us, it may be the (slightly) older Emma Thompson who first shone a light on her beauty.  She’s both sensible and feminine, a daddy’s little girl and a force in the boardroom.  Here are a few names that come close, in different ways, to encapsulating Emma’s myriad likeable qualities.  Please resist the urge to do Emma and Ella.  If I had to pick just one name to be her heir, it would be Alice.














Siblings could lean more old-fashioned.  I think if you already have an Emma, you can stand to really embrace her throwback style and go all out a second time:

Sisters: Frances, Harriet, Jane, Mary, Winifred

Brothers: Alistair, Clarence, Frederick, Hugh, Peter

Names Like Isabella

September 9th, 2012


Isabella, oh beautiful Isabella.  When my parents named me your French/German equivalent in 1979, Isabella was perceived as too flowery, too over-the-top.  Now, you are just shy of on top at #2 nationwide.  You are lovely.  ”Is a bella” sounds like “is a beauty.”  You are worthy of queens and movie stars.  But you must step aside now, and let others have their chance to shine.


Araminta – This four syllable English gem has all the makings of a star.  Perhaps it’s that “mint” sound people can’t get past?

Casilda – An old Spanish saint with a lovely name and the ready-to-wear nickname Cassie.

Cosima – This Italian patron of the arts made its way onto three famous newborns in as many months.  Sofia Coppola, Claudia Schiffer, and the royal Windsors all have Cosimas.

Delphine – A hot ticket in 1970s France, Delphine missed the boat ride.  She’s as objectively pretty as any other.

Eleanora – Add an A and this stately classic sings.

Fiorella – Here’s a fun undiscovered Italian friend with that “ella” ending you all love so much.

Isadora – Lop off the “ella” and trade it for our favorite cartoon friend and you get Isadora.  You’ll be in creative company, Bjork gave this name to her child.

Isolde- Tristan’s love is deserving of more attention.

Isotta – This actually *is* the name of Isabella Rossellini’s twin sister, who chose being a professor of Italian over acting. I’m besotted.

Mirabelle – This one screams “look! I’m beautiful!” (in a good way).

Serafina – Bennifer Affleck yadayadayada.  Spell it with an “F” for more cultural authenticity, or use a ‘PH’ in the French Seraphine.


Sisters: Calantha, Guinevere, Marina, Penelope, Valentina

Brothers: AnatoleBalthazarCasimir, Lorenzo, Paolo


For more strictly Italian substitutions, please visit Le Tante Sorelle di Isabella

Above: Portrait of Isabella d’Este by Titian

A New Series.

June 7th, 2012

What to do when you love a terribly popular name?  I say, go ahead and choose the name you love the MOST.  But if you’re already convinced that you don’t want your child to be one of three in her class, maybe we can come up with alternatives for you.

What’s that you say?  You have baby name regret because you already hear your son’s name on multiple children everywhere you go?  You’re expecting a second child and don’t want to do this again?  Maybe we can help you find something in the same style, but isn’t quite so popular yet.

That’s why I’m starting a new series, “Names Like _____.”   I’ll start with Sophia and Jacob, and go down the list from there.  Sound like fun?  I hope so!  I’m looking forward to new discoveries and connections.

Image: Personalized name tiles by Nina van de Goor at Ninainvorm