Popular names, Pottery Barn style

I got a Pottery Barn and Pottery Barn Kids catalog today and one went straight into the recycling bin. I’m pretty sure you can guess which one I poured over.

I used to be a home decorating junkie, but once I had my son, a whole new world of decorating opened up to me — kids’ rooms, kids’ accessories, kids’ storage. Yes, our microwave cart is falling apart (one door fell off and the other no longer closes) and I actually duct-taped it closed when we had company. But I can’t get very interested in that purchase. Not when there are “Where the Wild Things Are” bedding sets and hooded towels that look like animals and wicker baskets in the shape of whales out there. Whales!

But that’s not the main thing that compels me to read the PBK catalog.

It’s the names.

Pottery Barn Kids features a lot of personalized items, and I love to see which names they feature. There’s a certain style to the names. Some fall on the Top 10 most popular name lists.

But a lot of them are just short of that. They’re pretty, kind of classic, kind of unusual but not unusual enough that people will wrinkle up their noses and wonder where you came up with that one. They’re basically what the company thinks will appeal to their customers, probably for the same reason the products appeal to the customers — we’re mass-market but don’t like to think of ourselves that way.

My son’s name, Nathaniel, hasn’t made the cut yet, but I suspect it will one day. It’s writerly and classic, not common but not unusual. That’s why we picked it.

Like that style, too? Here are some of the new ones I spotted in the latest catalog:

Girls: Celia, Georgia (interesting!), Claire, Harper (adore), Alex, Blair (did not see that coming), Riley, Sydney (This would have been on our girl’s list if my brother didn’t have a cat named Sydney), Abby, Blythe, Reese (Blair and Reese are giving me a “Heathers” vibe).

Boys: Emmett (hmm, not bad), Liam, Henry (love), Cooper, Hayden (shouldn’t be a surprise with the popularity of Aiden, also in the PBK catalog), Tanner, Sawyer (I miss Lost), Miles (more Lost).

I wonder how you get the job of being the PBK name-picker-outer?

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