The '90s Are Making A Comeback -- Including Baby Names

by Rita Templeton
Originally Published: 
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Was there a better decade than the ’90s? For those of us who were tweens and teens back then, the answer is … AS IF!

If you proudly sported pencil-thin brows and brown lipstick, rocked out to Tupac and Biggie and Hootie and Bush, believed that thick-soled shoes were the best shoes, and amassed butterfly clips like currency, you know that the ’90s were a fun time to grow up.

RELATED: Yes, My Kids Have Weird Names — So What?

This collection of baby names pays homage to some of the things that made the ’90s iconic, so you can bring a little piece of that era to a whole new generation.

1. Delia

Think back to when catalogs were a thing — and then think back to when it was the dELiA*s catalog, and you pored over it circling all the wide leg jeans and baby tees and yin-yang necklaces.

Flickr user missjille

2. Lilith

Who can forget the Lilith Fair, the all-female music festival organized by Sarah McLachlan? The epitome of girl power, it featured the likes of Sheryl Crow, Fiona Apple, Joan Osborne, Erykah Badu, and Lisa Loeb. You know, the artists whose songs made us croon our angsty teenage hearts out in our bedrooms.

3. Jewel

She was one of the aforementioned singers who we’ve all bellowed at the top of our lungs at least a few times, but she’s in a category all her own — because gemstone names are on the rise, and Jewel kinda encompasses them all.

4. Carmen

Between “Oregon Trail” and the Internet, there was “Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?” We spent hours in front of those boxy computer monitors helping the super-sleuth track down the thieving members of V.I.L.E.

And that sleek red trench coat and matching fedora? GOALS.

5. Rachel

This wasn’t just the name of a character from “Friends” — it was the quintessential haircut of the decade. I mean, if you didn’t sport “the Rachel” at some point, were you even a ’90s chick?

credit: NBC

6. Heaven

People might think you’re naming your child Heaven because she’s a little angel, but if you’re ’90s-nostalgic, you’re naming her after one of The Gap’s signature fragrances that every girl of the decade smelled like. (I’d still wear it, TBH.)

If Heaven isn’t your idea of a good name, why not one of the other Gap scents: Dream? As a name, it’s on the up-and-up, thanks to Rob Kardashian’s daughter.

7. Clarissa

Back in the ’90s, Clarissa Darling was “explaining it all” from her quirky teen bedroom, in her fabulously funky wardrobe that we all wanted to copy.

8. Cher

Anyone from an older generation will automatically think of the one-named singer. But ’90s kids think of Cher Horowitz, the superficial it-girl turned catalyst for social change in the movie Clueless. There are other good names from the movie too: Tai! Dionne! Elton! Christian!

Paramount Pictures/Getty

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9. Dolly

If you paid attention to any headlines in 1996 (or were forced to pay attention by your parents and teachers, let’s be real), you might remember Dolly: a sheep, and the first mammal to be cloned. Yay for ’90s-era scientific breakthroughs!

Psst … even if you’re not keen on naming your kid after a sheep, there’s always Dolly Parton as a namesake, and she was iconic in the ’90s too. But then, when wasn’t she iconic?

10. Daria

As real as an MTV-animated high school girl could get, Daria Morgendorffer (and her bestie Jane Lane) appealed to the smart, cynical, sarcastic parts of us all.

credit: MTV

11. Jordan

This name might just be the most laden with ’90s nostalgia. Not only does it bring to mind sports legend Michael Jordan, who dominated basketball for a decade and then casually switched to baseball (because why not rule at both sports?) — it brings to mind the Air Jordans named after him that everybody wanted (you know, along with Reebok Pumps).

And of course, we’d be remiss not to mention another ’90s Jordan: the dreamy Jordan Catalano from “My So-Called Life,” who basically made Jared Leto a household name.

12. Leo

Speaking of dreamy ’90s dudes, helloooo Leonardo DiCaprio! From his days on “Growing Pains” to wooing Claire Danes in Romeo + Juliet to playing Jack Dawson in Titanic, his photo was plastered on the wall of many a teen girl (thanks, Tiger Beat).

20th Century-Fox/Getty Images

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13. Dawson

And speaking of Dawsons … you probably followed the late-’90s adventures of Dawson, Joey, Pacey and the crew as they navigated the growing pains of transitioning from high school to college on “Dawson’s Creek.”

14. Marten

Though this name is typically spelled “Martin,” you can’t pay homage to your fave decade without spelling it “Marten”: just like the footwear brand that made the combat boots we all wanted to wear with our floral baby-doll dresses. Oh, and chokers, naturally.

credit: Kirstin Sinclair/Getty Images)

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15. Cobain

Does this really need an explanation? Kurt Cobain defined ’90s grunge, and his death in 1994 left a hole in the hearts of anyone who ever rocked out to Nirvana’s garage-band sound. If you want a less obvious tribute, you could use the cute nickname Coby — or just go with the more-traditional Kurt.

16. Tommy

There isn’t much more of an iconic ’90s brand than Tommy Hilfiger. Kate Moss wore it down the runway; Britney Spears rocked Tommy overalls on her tour; and Aaliyah was in their ads, sporting that tube top.

17. Madden

You might’ve played “Madden NFL” on whatever game console you had during the ’90s, but my personal favorite Madden is the Steve Madden variety — the man responsible for those stretchy platform slides we all adored. Can’t you just hear the fwap, fwap, fwap of those big-ass soles as they slapped against your heels with every step? Ahhh.

Even if you didn’t grow up in the thick of the ’90s, you’ve gotta admit: These baby names are still all that and a bag of chips.

… Or whatever the kids are saying these days.

For baby name ideas from vintage to modern, check out Scary Mommy’s baby name database!

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