This prep rebrand is suddenly everywhere
Old money names conjure the aspirational lifestyle provided by generational wealth—elite country clubs, prep schools, and holidays in the countryside. The old money aesthetic is being felt beyond baby names—this prep-rebrand is suddenly everywhere.
Fashion runways are filled with pleated skirts, penny loafers, and pearl necklaces. Americans are streaming television shows like Succession and The Gilded Age. Social media is littered with slideshows of old money inspiration photos—taken from vintage preppy catalogs and films like The Great Gatsby and The Talented Mr. Ripley. And now, parents are filing birth certificates with old money baby names.
The name Alistair is a boy’s name of Scottish, Scottish Gaelic origin meaning “defending men.” With many British names invading the Yankee name pool, the sophisticated Alistair could and should be part of the next wave. Adopted by the lowland Scots by the seventeenth century, the name didn’t become popular outside Scotland and Ireland until the twentieth century.
The name Araminta is a girl’s name of English origin. Araminta is an enchanting eighteenth-century invention familiar in Britain and just beginning to be discovered here. It was used in 1693 by William Congreve in his comedy The Old Bachelor, and in 1705 by the versatile Sir John Vanbrugh, architect of Blenheim Palace as well as a playwright, for his comedy The Confederacy.
The name Baldwin is both a boy’s name and a girl’s name of German origin meaning “brave friend.” One “bald” name we can get behind, thanks to pioneering African-American author James Baldwin – though the name is now also associated with the Baldwin brothers, particularly Alec.
The name Carlisle is both a boy’s name and a girl’s name of English origin meaning “from the walled city.” Carlisle may be a male name in Twilight (he’s vampire hero Edward’s adoptive father), but in the real baby-naming world, it’s used about a quarter of the time for girls. Unusual now, we think Carlisle (or Carlyle) has the potential to be the next Carter.
The name Cressida is a girl’s name of Greek origin meaning “gold.” Cressida is a pretty mythological and Shakespearean heroine name much better known in Britain than it is here — an imbalance the adventurous baby namer might want to correct.
The name Darby is both a boy’s name and a girl’s name of Irish, Scandinavian, and Norse origin meaning “free from envy, or, from the deer estate.” Once a common boys’ name in Ireland (e.g., Darby O’Gill and the Little People), the dynamic Darby now has a definite unisex feel. Actor Paul Rudd has a young daughter named Darby.
The name Ginevra is a girl’s name of Italian origin meaning “white shadow, white wave.” It’s a lovely alternative for the Jennifer-lover.
The name Hutton is both a boy’s name and a girl’s name meaning “ridge enclosure.” A natural successor to Hunter, Hudson, and Huxley, Hutton is an unexpected yet on-trend unisex name.
The name Lysander is a boy’s name of Greek origin meaning “liberator.” Previously confined to the nurseries of Mayfair and Belgravia, we think Lysander could easily emigrate to the playgrounds of Park Slope.
The name Olympia is a girl’s name of Greek origin meaning “from Mount Olympus.” With its relation to Mount Olympus, home of the Greek gods, and to the Olympic games, this name has an athletic, goddess-like aura, making it the perfect Olivia substitute.
The name Penn is both a boy’s name and a girl’s name of Celtic origin meaning “enclosure.” This simple, elegant name offers something for many kinds of parents, from writers and history buffs to photographers to Pennsylvania dwellers.
The name Saskia is a girl’s name of Dutch origin meaning “Saxon.” Saskia is one of those names that’s been used in Europe since the Middle Ages but has never crossed the ocean.
The name Schuyler is both a boy’s name and a girl’s name of Dutch origin meaning “scholar.”This worthy name, imported by the early Dutch colonists, has been all but overpowered by the phonetic spellings — Skyler for boys and Skylar for girls.
The name Tamsin is a girl’s name of English origin meaning “twin.” Tamsin is an offbeat name occasionally heard in Britain and just waiting to be discovered here. Tamsyn is the alternative medieval Cornish spelling.
The name Thayer is both a boy’s name and a girl’s name of French origin meaning “tailor.” Thayer is an affable, less-common alternative to Taylor, with a much more indirect connection to its occupational source.