In honor of the publication of True Prep by Lisa Birnbach (a follow-up to The Official Preppy Handbook, which I blogged about last year) this month, the baby naming websiteÂ Baby Names Garden has posted aÂ list of preppy names and nicknames and is taking reader suggestions.
As it so happens, my own copy of True Prep arrived in the mail today and a quick glance through reveals that it does not address preppy names this time around. In many ways, preppy names and nicknames often stay the same. After all, prep is about staying power, the tried and true; not trying to outdo oneself with flash and sass. Case in point, when Gwenyth Paltrow named her daughter Apple -Â I’m still of the mind that a simple “Claire” or “Tinsley” would have sufficed.
Preps need to be careful these days when naming their children. There is much name encroachment going on! It’s becoming de rigueur to name one’s baby as if she were born a wrinkled old lady with a cup of tea in her hand and aÂ Corgi asleep on her lap. Edith. Vivian. Gertrude. Or, alternately, even the dreaded middle class is embracing names like Annabelle and Lindsey. As if!
So the problem then becomes how to stake a name claim that is unique, somewhat of a statement but certainly no Apple (imagine – a 55 year-old woman named Apple!)
I thought I would offer up my list of what I call the “Heavy Prep” names. These are the heavy hitters that let everyone know you’re not messing around, you come from money, you don’t spend your Saturdays at the mall and your child will go to a private school.
First, Girl Names:
Brynne (or Bryn) or, even better, Bronwyn
Catherine (nickname must be Cate, with a “C,”)
Harriet (nickname must be Topsy)
Katerie or Kateri
Kitty (given name)
Lillie or Lillian (please, not Lily)
Mary Louise, Helen Louise, Mary The-Mother’s-Maiden-Name-If-It’s-One-Or-Two-SyllablesÂ (like Mary Grey)
Actually, any name with two names as long as it’s never allowed to be shortened. The girl must, from the very beginning, be the kind of girl one would never dream of calling simply “Mary” or “Helen.”
Margaret (nickname must be Bunny)
Nanette (nickname is Nan and she’s an excellent lacrosse player)
Penelope ( the nickname is Poppy)
Brant or Brantley (nickname is Bif)
Carlton or Carl-Phillip (and it should never be shortened to “Carl”)
George (you may think this name has been sullied but remember its Old English origins!)
Harry or Harrison (but call him Bunny)
Irving (nickname is Skip)
Louis or Lewis
Peyton or Payton
Roderick (nickname is Roddie, which you say while giving his hair a rough tousle)
Sebastian (nickname is Seb)
Theodore (nickname is Tad)
Trey (a bit Southern prep but what the hey)