These Throwback ’80s Names Will Be Big for Babies in 2023

80s kids standing with a basketball iStock

’80s names are in, baby!

Call it the Stranger Things effect. 2022 has given us the return of the mullet, Kate Bush back at #1, and nostalgic ’80s clothing and makeup styles trending. So for one big baby name trend of 2023, we predict that we’ll see the start of a revival of ’80s inspired names by ahead-of-the-curve admirers of this retro style. Even calling this trend category “Names So Out They’re In” is from the ’80s. We used it in Beyond Jennifer & Jason, our OG book on names, published in 1988.

We’re not expecting a surge in babies named Jessica or Michael, the top girl and boy names of the 1980s – at least not yet. Instead, we’re watching the more era-evoking choices that came of age around the same time as lumberjack shirts, leg warmers and bomber jackets.


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Names in this category include character names from ’80s pop culture classics, like FerrisMarty and Sloane, as well as Stranger Things names and others with the same cozy, even kitschy, retro feel. By rights, these names should be at the height of unfashionableness… and yet. Their nostalgic charm and countercultural appeal really speak to the current zeitgeist. Here are a few of our favorites:

Dallas

It formerly called to mind the long-running soap opera, but today Dallas, with its laid-back, Southern attitude, is the height of cowboy-cool.

Hank

This old-school short form of Henry was most popular in midcentury America, giving it a nostalgic, retro feel.

Penny

Sweet and sassy Penny has made a total rebound, both as a nickname for Penelope and in its own right.

Sloane

Ferris Bueller’s stylish girlfriend imbues her name with an unmatched cool factor. Sloane is more popular in the US than ever before.

Sonny

Sonny is a classic pet name befitting boys with any formal name. These days, the generic boy nickname is a mainstay on birth certificates.

The complete list is below! For expanded meanings, visit Nameberry.

Billy
Blane
Carey
Chrissy
Dallas
Dustin
Eddie
Ferris
Hank
Heather
Jeanie
Johnny
Julie
Laurel
Marcie
Marty
Ned
Robin
Ren
Richie
Sandy
Sloane
Sonny
Suzie
Todd
Travis
Penny
Perry

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