Alaya, Arianna, Isabella, Elisa - names with these sounds are dominating the girls' top 1000. Vowel-heavy, melodic choices seem to be the fashion, with 77% of names in the top 100 starting or ending with a vowel. What about the other twenty-three names?
Despite the vowel trends, these names have their own kind of sounds. Let's look at this list of names and see where smaller trends may lie, as well as more unique options that fit their individuality.
Ending in N - Madison, Lillian, Brooklyn, Madelyn, Caroline, Peyton, Katherine, Madeline, Vivian, Quinn, Reagan
The suffix of the decade may be -lyn! It's a familiar sound with feminine overtones, and can honor familial Linda's, Lynn's, and Lindsey's. Though the Katelyn trend is subsiding, plenty of other names have risen to take its place. Less common examples include: Gwendolyn, Roselyn, and Coralyn. Names like Vivian and Lillian lend themselves easily to nicknames, like Vivi and Lily. Other names with this suffix include Charmian, Marian, and Gillian.
Ending in R - Harper, Skylar, Claire, Piper, Taylor
A unisex style that allows for mix-and-match prefixes, ending in -or and -er is not just a contemporary idea: names like Esther, Jennifer, and Amber have been on record for decades. Looking for something less prevalent? Try Sailor, Lavender, or Tamar.
Ending in T - Charlotte, Scarlett, Violet
While these names seem more old-fashioned, all three reached their highest level of popularity this last year. The -ett suffix seems more sophisticated and polished; feminine without being frilly. Other lovely names ending in T include Merritt, Garnet, and Yvette.
Virtue names - Grace, Genesis, Faith
Though more virtue names overlap with vowel-heavy names - Nevaeh, Serenity, Trinity - there is a certain elegance that these polished options offer. Other virtue names in this trend include Hope, Justice, and Constance.
Unisex names - Harper, Skylar, Peyton, Taylor, Quinn, Reagan
All of these name rank within the top 100 for girls, and the top 1000 for boys. Many are also occupational choices, which tend to be less gender-normative and allow for more imagination. Another common trait? Many happen to be popular last names, which let parents honor figures in their life more directly (at least, more so than the infinity of John's). Other options include Thatcher, Lincoln, and Copper.
Color names - Scarlett, Violet, Hazel, (and Skylar, indirectly)
If Rainbow is too much, don't worry - there's plenty of names in its wide range of hues. The trick is to choose a color name that's also a retro choice: while Aquamarine is a bit over the top, Lilac and Navy feel more vintage. Gemstone names like Ruby and Pearl also fit into this trend. Other uncommon options include Saffron, Indigo, Amethyst, and Opal.
French origins - Charlotte, Claire, Madelyn, Madeline
Even though these names are used often in English-speaking countries, they still maintain a bit of that je ne sais quoi. It can be hard to force the transition - choosing Mireille or Anais may result in some interesting pronunciations in the states. But there are other names with French origins who would stand out gracefully: Juliette, Simone, and Mauve among them.
What other trends-within-a-trend do you see? Tell me in the comments!