Retro Girl Names
Baby Names | Pregnancy

25 Retro Girl Names That Never Go Out of Style

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Poodle skirts, drive-ins, black and white movies, and roaring muscle cars.

The first half of the 20th century was a major turning point for technology and society; the intersection between the past and the future. The names of this period are the same. They’re a unique splash of elegance and modern simplicity.

In this post we’re going to explore a few of my favorite retro baby names for girls. Now, “retro” is kind of a subjective term, but I tend to think of it as anything newer than “vintage” but older than “modern.” So, these retro girl names are from the 1920s to about the 60s.

Hopefully by the end of this list you’ll be inspired and find the perfect name for your little doll.

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Audrey

I don’t think it’s possible to have a list of retro girl names without including Audrey. Audrey Hepburn was one of the most iconic actresses during the Golden Age of Hollywood. Her films are timeless and so is her name. Audrey is an English name meaning “noble strength.”

Alma 

Looking for something a little more traditional? Alma is a classic name that comes from the Latin word almo, which means nourishing.

Betty

I love this simplified version of the old-fashioned name, Elizabeth. I’m always reminded of Betty Boop, the iconic cartoon from the 1930s. 

Bonnie

Bonnie was ridiculously popular in the 1940s before it dropped off the charts in the 90s. It comes from the French word bonne, meaning good. Or, if you’re from Scotland, it can also be interpreted as “pretty.” I love this retro baby girl name because it’s simple and cute! 

Cary

Are you waiting to learn the sex of your baby? Cary is a fantastic unisex name. Even better, the meaning is up for interpretation. Some believe it’s a Gaelic name, meaning “dark complected.” Others say it’s Latin for “pleasant stream.” It can be used for girls and boys, but I ways tend to think of An Affair to Remember’s Cary Grant.

Daisy

There’s something innocent yet vibrant about Daisy. Daisy was more popular in the early 20th century, but began to see an uptick in the 70s (I’m assuming after the movie version of The Great Gatsby was released). 

Esther

Saying that Esther is a retro baby name is kind of a misnomer because it’s never really gone out of style.  Esther is a fairly common Jewish/Persian name, meaning “star.”

Fran

Francis or Francine are popular retro girl names, but Fran seems to be the edgy, modernized nickname. Both names mean “from France” or “free man.”

Gail

This variant of the Hebrew name Abigail is always a classic. It means, “my father rejoices.”

Gwen

Thanks to modern celebrities, Gwen is a hot, hot name right now. It was also very popular in the 1940s and 50s. Gwen is usually short for Guinevere, meaning “blessed ring.”

Holly

Who could forget Holly Golightly from Breakfast at Tiffany’s? Holly is a classic, earthy name that never goes out of style.

Jean

This popular retro girl name hit its height in the 20s and spiked again in the 50s when Norma Jean Baker (aka Marilyn Monroe) hit the scene. Jean is the female version of John, which means “God is gracious.” 

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Josie

I’ve loved Josie ever since I watched the 1970s show Josie and the Pussycats. Josie is usually used as a pet name for Josephine (God will increase) or Jocelyn. 

Ilene

Ilene is certainly a unique baby name now, but at one time it was fairly popular. It’s Irish for beautiful bird. One songbird you might recognize is Ilene Woods, the voice actress of Cinderella.

Leslie

Leslie is a classic Scottish unisex name meaning “garden of holly.”

Lois

Lois, Superman’s favorite gal, made her first appearance in 1938, when the name was ridiculously popular. It’s actually a Biblical name that means “most desirable.”

Kay

Technically an unisex name, Kay was popular mostly in the 1940s. It means “pure.”

Marilyn

Retro Baby Names - Marilyn

No list of retro baby names list is complete without Marilyn!

Marilyn saw a not-so-surprising spike in popularity in the 1950s and 60s.  Actress, singer, and fashion icon, I think it’s pretty safe to say that Marilyn Monroe has immortalized the name.

The duplicity of Marilyn is really cool as well. Mary means “rebellion” while Lyn means “wished for.” 

Maxene

The feminine version of Maximus or Maximilian, Maxene stems from the Latin word for the “greatest.” If you’re looking for retro baby names for girls that have the potential for a modern twist, this is perfect. I love the nickname Max!

Patsy

Patsy is a very popular retro baby name mean noble. 

Penny

Prior to the 1960s, Penny was usually used as a nickname for Penelope.

Robin

Like Penny, Robin won its independence as a female name in the 1960s. Before this period, it was mostly used as a nickname for the old German name Robert. Typically, it’s thought to mean “bright.”

Susie

There’s a Susie in every generation, but it’s definitely making a comeback now. Most of the time, Susie is the shortened version of the name Susan or Susannah, meaning “lily.”

Verna

Classic and elegant, Verna is Latin for “spring green.” It was mostly popular in the early 20th century.

Winifred

Winifred was mostly popular in the 1920s, but it has certainly made a comeback lately. In fact, this name has appeared in three Disney movies. Winifred is a Welsh name that usually refers to the patron saint of virgins.

Do You Have Any Retro Names for Girls?

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These are just a few of my favorite retro girl names. Hopefully one clicked with you!

It can be so difficult to find the perfect baby name. It took my husband and I two trimesters to figure out our second daughter’s name! If you’re still struggling to find “the one”, feel free to check out some of my other baby name round ups below.

Good luck!

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