Retro is in these days. From fashion to bringing back movies like "Halloween" and shows like "The Conners," people love to revisit the past few decades, and we think that baby names are filled with retro favorites that we still love.
From the '50s days of Betty and Ted to the kids of the Justins and Taylors of the '90s, we didn't have to go far to find some throwback options that are perfect for parents looking to vibe with their favorite decade. Whether they appreciate some bell bottoms or prefer some MC Hammer pants, they can find some baby names that suit them.
We didn't go for vintage names — for those, parents have to go way back in history. And besides, a lot of 100-year-old names are having a comeback all on their own. Instead, we stuck to names that were trendy in the '50s, '60s, '70s or '80s. They are old enough to have been off the scene for a while, but still known to all of us because they matched the fads of the day. Today's parents might not have thought of them for their baby name list, but picturing them back in their heyday helps people realize the retro appeal.
Here are 25 throwback names that are so retro.
Nickname names are big these days, so we suggest skipping the more trendy Patricia, which was huge from the 1930s through the 1960s and remained pretty popular for years afterward, and go for the nickname that makes us think of a girl in bobbie socks and poodle skirts with her hair in a pony tail. Patty is just so cute, and it's definitely a wonderful retro choice.
Patricia left the top 100 as late as 1990, but now it's barely in the top 1000. We think that makes it a great time for a return. But we know millennials would appreciate the simplicity and sweetness of Patty, and we totally agree.
Speaking of simple and sweet names from the first half of the 20th century, Frank is a good throwback choice for boys. Originally, Frank was a strong nickname for Francis, but we think it stands alone perfectly for a more modern choice. Even though he's been gone for decades, it still brings to mind the legend Frank Sinatra, which gives it even more retro charm.
One syllable names are all the rage these days, so we think Frank makes great sense, and if you think about it, it's also got a strong meaning, almost like a virtue name. This is a name that grows with a cute little guy to a strong, upstanding man.
We've got another 1950s sugary sweet name on our list. It's the name of Archie's girl-next-door friend Betty. Like Patty, it's a nickname name.This one is short for the traditional Elizabeth, which could make it a nod to a family member but with a more modern twist.
The name is synonymous with a pretty, outgoing, sweet girl, thanks to all those little ladies from the '50s. This is a throwback name that will always put a smile on someone's face, no matter what generation they are from.
Moms have gotten excited lately about W names lately. Monikers like Walton and Warden are up-and-comers, but we love this throwback version that has a lot of charm. Warren reminds us of legends like actor Warren Beatty and baseball player Warren Spahn, and that makes us dream big for a little guy.
Warren is a name that peaked in 1921, but it remained popular for a long time after that. The name has a noble air, and it means "park-keeper," which is really nice in these green-minded days. This retro choice is unexpected but elegant and legendary.
We've got a song that automatically makes us start singing, thanks to Sting's popular hit, "Roxanne." Of course, the character in the song might give some mom's pause, but it's a lovely name even with that connotation. The name surged to the American lexicon with Cyrano de Bergerac, and it was at its most popular in the 1950s and '60s.
The name has a meaning as lovely as it is. It means "dawn" in Persian — isn't that delightful? We also love the nickname Roxy. It's beautiful, exotic, and a wonderful throwback name that should be at the top of name lists.
There are a lot of beautiful Biblical names that have a long history, but many of them are kind of tied to a time period. For example, Noah is having a huge moment right now. Michael has been popular for generations, and so has James, but these days James seems to be everywhere. One of the most popular in the 1980s was Joshua, but you don't see that many Joshes these days.
We think that makes it a great retro pick. Everyone knows the name, but they will be pleasantly surprised to see it on a little one. Going straight for the one-syllable nickname makes it even more hot for modern times. There used to be three Joshes in every classroom, but now he'll stand out in a world of Jacksons.
You may hear the name Erin on babies these days, but it's a lot more likely to be a boy with the traditional Biblical name of Aaron. Instead, the more feminine version of Erin had its heyday n the 1980s and '90s, which means it feels retro these days. It's just got a beautiful sound, and now a unisex feel, which makes it really appealing in our eyes.
Erin is a traditional Irish name. It definitely has the magic of the Emerald Isle in it, and it's just adorable for a little lass. There are a lot of admirable women who bear that name, such as sportscaster Erin Andrews and the woman who Julia Roberts made famous, Erin Brockovich. The name has a cool throwback feel and we think that it's great so sweet for a girl.
Moms these days love unisex names, and that's why we love this throwback choice. It's one of the first big unisex names, which became super popular in the 1990s for both boys and girls. Of course, it started off as an occupational name, which is also a big trend these days, and it brings a cool retro vibe to stand out among all the Saylors being born these days.
We know of a ton of famous Taylors, including Twilight actor Taylor Laughtner and of course, our girl Taylor Swift. It works for strong men and feminine women and everything in between, and it's one of those names that brings us back to one of our favorite eras yet sounds just right for a kid of today.
There was another name that filled classrooms in the '80s and '90s, and it fills our hearts to this day: Justin. The name was so popular that it was even on the New Mickey Mouse Club — of course, that guy became one of the hottest pop stars of the past couple of decades, Justin Timberlake.
Justin hit its peak at No. 9 in 1990, so it definitely evokes an '80s image. But of course it's also the name that everyone who is a Belieber also adores. The name also has an amazing meaning. It means "fair" or "righteous." While it isn't a Biblical name, it is the name of a saint, the patron saint of philosophers.
While names like Josh and Justin have dipped in popularity, they are still around, unlike one of our girl favorites from the '80s that we think is a great throwback choice. Lindsey was once an English surname, and it started off as a male name, albeit an unusual one. In the 1970s and '80s, it skyrocketed to be one of the most popular choices for girls about a generation ago.
Lindsey, which can be spelled a few different ways, has become a unisex choice, and because it's dropped in popularity, it will stand out among the crowd. It's unique for today and reminds us enough of a past generation that we love it as a retro pick.
Several years ago, Emery was a throwback name everyone adored — and it crossed over from boys to girls to become unisex. Might we suggest another retro name to take its place for your little gal or girl — Everett.
The name has the same three-syllable sweetness, and it's interesting and different. The name has retro charm, since it was more popular back in the first half of the twentieth century. It means "brave as a boar," which is a very strong character trait to want for your little one, and that is why we think this is a retro choice that stands out for babies nowadays.
There were few names more popular for girls in the 1970s than Amy — in fact, only Jennifer was used more often. The sweet choice means "love," and that is one reason why it will always remain in our hearts, even though it has dropped off quite a bit in popularity. But for women seeking a retro choice for their little girl, we think it's a great pick.
There are lots of famous Amys from Generation X, including actresses Amy Adams and Amy Poehler, writer Amy Tan and singer Amy Grant. It also has a long history, such as in Louisa May Alcott's "Little Women," so it is a name of substance that has a retro feel, a sweet sound and a great meaning.
For this name, we're throwing it back even further than for most. The name Theodore is more noted for its charm in the late 1800s and early 1900s, although it remained fairly popular for baby boomers long after Theodore Roosevelt was president. But the name dipped quite a bit for all of Generation X and the millennial generation, and it still evokes the era of the Rough Riders.
Theodore might be a great alternative for someone who isn't happy with the popularity of Leo but loves the charm. Theo would be a great alternative with retro appeal. The name means "gift of God," which brings a smile to our hearts, and the nickname Teddy is pretty cute too. This name is back on the rise, and we think that its throwback charm is a big part of it.
When we think of a girl named Barbara, we definitely have a young Jane Fonda with big brown waves in our mind. It's a strong name that was super popular in the '40s and '50s, although it dropped off dramatically through the past two generations.
But if you think about it, Barbara is a retro choice that has all the strength of a modern day #metoo era kid. It means "foreign woman," which might not seem like much, but we think that evokes the toughness to make your own way in the world. And since so many named Barbara worked hard to make a way for women in the workplace in the '60s and '70s, they are a great throwback choice for the next generation of change-makers.
Peter is a name with a lot of history — there was Peter the Great, and Saint Peter, who was the disciple who built the Christian church, and of course Peter Pan. But somehow, when we think of Peter, one of the things that comes to mind is Peter Brady. It feels really retro because the last big hey-day for the name was in the '60s, so it stands out as a throwback choice.
Peter means "rock," so it has evokes the image of strength and steadfastness. We think that Pete is a cute one-syllable nickname, and it would be a great choice for a name in and of itself. The name has been slipping for more than a generation, so the call back to a past era would be totally groovy.
Of all of the names on our list, Darcy probably had the shortest hey-day. It popped onto the scene in the 1950s and peaked in the '70s, only to peter out of the top 1000 by the early 1990s. We think it's a sweet name that works great for a girl, but it can also be a name for a boy, as its the surname of one of the great romantic hero in "Pride and Prejudice."
Darcy has its origins both in France and in Ireland. It can mean "dark one" or "from the fortress," and while neither of those are really appealing, we think it's a retro name that stands out well in today's ultra-feminine or totally unisex. This one is a middle ground that works great for both.
For boys, Russell was a mainstay of the first half of the 20th century. But it dipped in favor and dropped out of the top 100 in the early '80s. Most people have no idea that the name started out as a nickname for a red-head, as it has become known as a pretty dignified and upstanding name for a man.
Russell is pretty unusual among millennials and their children, so it definitely is a throwback to another era. There are a number of Russells that we love, such as actor Russell Crowe and music producer Russell Simmons, and the retro nickname of Rusty is super cute for a little boy these days.
Gayle might seem like an old-timey name, but we think it's a great throwback name that fits the trend of one-syllable simplicity so trendy these days. Gayle, which can also be spelled Gail, began to trend in the early 1900s, and it surged in the '50s and '60s before crashing out of the top 1000 in the 1970s.
Moms these days love throwback short names like Maeve and Pearl, but Gayle has been overlooked. It evokes an era of women who paved the way for modern life, and we think it's a retro name that deserves another shot.
Gregory is another name with a long, long history, but it went from a proper and acceptable name to a huge fad. It was huge from the '50s through the '80s, so we knew a bunch of Gregs during school. The name has dipped in popularity enough to make it a throwback that we are familiar with but so excited about returning to.
Gregory means "vigilant," which makes it a perfect choice for a determined young lad. It was the moniker for 15 saints and 16 popes, not to mention some amazing American legends such as dancer Gregory Hines and actor Gregory Peck. If you are looking to up the cool factor, go for the different spelling of the nickname that is the name of one of the Allman brothers, Gregg. If that isn't a retro throwback, we don't know what else is.
Janis, along with the other spelling of Janice, has a relatively short history. The name started trending in the 40s and had its hey-day in the '60s and '70s before pretty quickly falling out of favor. But the name is so retro. You immediately think of Janice from "Friends" or the model Janice Dickinson — or more importantly, the reason that we went with the s spelling, legendary rocker Janis Joplin.
Janis is a twist on Jane, so it carries on the sweet meaning of "God's gracious gift." But of course it ups the retro appeal and is a name that will stand out as a number of parents go for the more vintage Jane.
Eddie is a bit of a '50s classic. That was mostly because of the popularity of Edward, but there were also quite a few Edgars around during the first half of the 20th century, and we think this is a throwback name that is aching for a comeback.
We're not sure why, but Edgar feels a little more strong and manly than Edward. It means "wealthy spearman," so it's got the upper crust image with the man of the land, and we think the name and the nickname both have the retro vibe that boy moms have been craving.
Mona is another old-world name that really jumps out at you. Of course, you immediately think of the Mona Lisa from centuries ago, but it's a name that had a pretty good moment in the '50s and '60s. We think that makes it retro chic on top of being vintage and ethereal.
While you might expect it to be Italian, Nameberry says that Mona has its root in Irish. It means "noble good," which is an amazing perspective for a little girl. This name is retro without too much of a hippy vibe, which is a throwback that many parents can latch on to.
Place names are definitely having a moment for new moms and dads, but a lot of those names have already become too popular for many. Amidst all the Brooklyns and Londons and such, we have another option that is a throwback to a couple of generations ago. In fact, in America you might not recognize it as a place name; it gives you British vibes all the way, as the name we are talking about is Kent.
Kent brings us back to Superman, whose alter ego was Clark Kent. While Clark has remained a little bit of a staple, Kent had a big flash from the 1950s to '60s, and it lost appeal quickly after that. We think it has a lot of polish and gumption for a little boy, and it sounds modern with his one-syllable sound. It can have a new moment, thanks to its throwback appeal.
Another big trend of today is virtue names, and we have a great throwback to add to the list of today's popular choices like Grace and Honor. This one — Charity — gives us 1970s vibes because that is when it shot up in popularity. While back then it may have seemed to belong to the hippies, these days Charity is a virtue that most parents preach, so why not teach the lesson in more ways than one.
Charity is such a throwback name that it has its own musical "Sweet Charity." In a world full of Hopes and moms handing out more unusual virtue names like Unity and Verity, we think that Charity hits it in the sweet spot with a lot of retro appeal.
Back in our elementary school days, the boys named Brad were definitely the cool kids. While Bradley is a surname that moved to the first position several generations ago, it definitely peaked in the late '70s and '80s, where it became super popular and a bit edgy.
While we think this name has a lot of retro appeals for boys, it's also perfect for the crossover market, doing the same thing that Lindsey did a half a century or so ago. We've already met a few female Bradleys on reality TV and in shows, and we think it works either way. One thing is for certain — just as in the old days, the Bradleys will be the cool kids.