Written by Linda Rosenkrantz for Nameberry
The whole idea of classic girls' names that are hot right now might seem like a contradiction in terms: How can a name be both trendy and timeless?
It can if it's an ancient name that's been well and widely used over the centuries but that's also enjoying the heat of attention right now.
The twelve classic girls' names here all have deep roots, yet are also listed on the official U.S. roster of names that were the fastest-rising in the past year.
That makes all of them excellent choices, offering both style and substance. Vote for your favorite below and let us know which classic names you love in the comments!
Following in the footsteps of Top 5 Ava, <a href="http://nameberry.com/babyname/Ada" target="_hplink">Ada</a> jumped more than fifty places. Though it lacks Ava's obvious glamour-girl pedigree, Ada has a more vintage feel and lots of literary cred. Ada Lovelace was the daughter of Lord Byron and is credited as being the world's first computer programmer.
The lovely antique <a href="http://nameberry.com/babyname/Alice" target="_hplink">Alice</a> has been quietly tiptoeing up the charts in recent years, now up 30 places to Number 142. Both a literary and a royal favorite, Alice is probably still best known as the name of the heroine of <em>Alice in Wonderland</em>. <em>Alice in Wonderland statue in New York City's Central Park.</em>
This lovely, lacy valentine of a name, the choice of Pam and Jim for their TV baby on "The Office," is also on the upswing. <a href="http://nameberry.com/babyname/Cecilia" target="_hplink">Cecilia</a> Beaux was a portrait painter of the last century.
A soft and lovely vintage beauty that has been restored to popularity, rising 72 places this year. <a href="http://nameberry.com/babyname/Cora" target="_hplink">Cora</a> has classic literary roots as the heroine of James Fenimore Cooper's Last of the Mohicans and as an alternate name for the mythological Persephone, but modern parents are probably most familiar with Cora via Lady Cora Crawley of television's "Downton Abbey".
Daphne, which once seemed quintessentially British, is making real inroads on these shores, up 38 places this year, perhaps influenced by the powerful Daphne Millbrook character on "Heroes." The mythological Daphne was a nymph pursued by Apollo who turned into a tree.
Eloise has joined the band of other popular El-starting names, initiated by Ella. A new generation of girls is discovering the charming <em>Eloise of the Plaza</em>.
This is one of the biggest surprises, jumping up 165 places in one year!! Elsie is yet another diminutive of Elizabeth, via its Scottish version Elspeth. Elsie DeWolfe is credited with inventing modern interior design. <em>Elsie the Cow was the famous logo for Borden Dairy Company</em>
A major Old Testament female figure associated with the holiday of Purim, with a quiet, subdued image, Esther was a Top 30 name at the turn of the last century, then went into a long retreat until, following the Hundred-Year Rule, it began to climb again with the new millennium. It's now at Number 236. Among the famous Esthers are the Biblical Queen, swimmer-turned-actress Esther Williams, and singer "Little" Esther Phillips, featured here.
Many parents, tired of the Jen-starting names, have turned to this daintier French saint's name which leads to the same-sounding, and therefore familiar short form. Genevieve -- pronounced jen-ah-veev or zhahn-vee-ev -- is the patron saint of Paris.
When picked by Julia Roberts for one of her twins in 2004, Hazel was still seen as somewhat offbeat and limbo-esque. Now this gentle nature/color names has reached Number 211. Though perhaps best known as a cartoon and then a TV maid, Hazel was also the name of early tennis champion Hazel Hotchkiss.
In limbo for decades -- she was completely off the list from 1987 to 2007 -- <a href="http://nameberry.com/babyname/June" target="_hplink">June</a> has joined May as a revived springtime fave. June Cleaver, Beaver's mom, was the ultimate 50s housewife.
A logical successor to Top 4 name Olivia, <a href="http://nameberry.com/babyname/Olive" target="_hplink">Olive</a> moved up into the Top 500 this past year. Popeye sweetheart Olive Oyl was a notable forebearer. <em><strong>Related Link:</strong></em> <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/31/nameberrys-hard-working-names_n_1843718.html" target="_hplink">Boy's Names Inspired By Occupations</a>