I thoroughly expected the taste-making, trend-setting Rachel Zoe to choose a thoroughly fashion forward name for her firstborn. When I saw the birth announcement for Skyler Morrison Berman, my initial reaction was “surely, there’s some mistake.”

Skyler peaked for boys back in 1994, and for girls in 2000. Variant spellings abound, from the original Dutch Schuyler to Skylar to, well, use your imagination. So it strikes me as not so very daring, perhaps even fading.

Except that Skyler isn’t fading for boys. He stood at #260 in 2009, down a few paces from his high of #214, but up a couple of places from 2007. He’s propelled by his -er ending, and his nature name vibe, but he’s also resisting the conventional wisdom that once a name “goes girl” it can’t be used for a son.

Could it be that Rachel Zoe’s pick will help cement Skyler in the elite fraternity of truly unisex names, along with Peyton and Taylor? And what does it mean if more and more names become truly unisex?


About Abby Sandel

Whether you're naming a baby, or just all about names, you've come to the right place! Appellation Mountain is a haven for lovers of obscure gems and enduring classics alike.

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What do you think?


  1. I’ll say I had hoped for, but didn’t expect, more from the couple. I just didn’t think it’d be this amazing, fashion-forward name…

    I also wonder if they used any Jewish naming traditions – perhaps Skyler was chosen for an S-named relative?

  2. I do feel kind of let down. I was expecting something a little more stylish or something more outlandish. Skyler is a fine name, but not one I thought they would choose.

  3. I don’t know if Skyler Morrison is a let down or a semi-refreshing choice – I really can’t say. I will tell you all that it’s nothing like what I expected from Rachel Zoe (and Rodger Berman, of course), and now that I’m letting it sit for a bit, I can’t say I love it. Nope. Perhaps if they’d gone with the Schuyler spelling it might have had more of an impact, but as Skyler? It’s not doing much for me…

    Oh, I might add I was hoping for something along the lines of Roscoe “Ross” Berman for Baby Zoe-Berman.

    PS In other celebrity baby news, designer Vern Yip and his partner welcomed daughter Vera Lillian Beatrix, baby sister to Gavin Joshua Mannox, on March 12. A very vintage name indeed, and a sure contrast to Gavin’s name.

  4. Skyler doesn’t seem like a nature name to me, but it does feel gender-neutral — perhaps because my first introduction to Schuyler was Schuyler Grant (incidentally Katharine Hepburn’s great-niece) who played Diana in the _Anne of Green Gables_ movie? It’s not a name I’m particularly fond of, nor do I find it fashion-forward. I also definitely prefer the traditional spelling, but I’m boring like that.

  5. Taylor seems truly unisex to me, but Peyton seems like a girl’s name. Perhaps RZ’s name choice shows she’s not quite so fashion forward all round.

  6. I think of Schuyler as boys, Skylar as girls and Skyler as both genders though it sounds masculine. about a decade ago i knew a little boy named Kyler so i that influences me.

  7. I don’t find it surprising that Skyler is gender neutral, because to my mind nature isn’t gendered. The sky itself is neither male nor female, so Sky and Skyler should be equally valid choices for boys and girls. It’s totally not my style, but at least it’s not Jayden. And I do like Morrison in the middle spot.

    I do find it interesting that more and more names appear to be solidly gender neutral. Perhaps it’s a signal that parents are less concerned about traditional gender roles and traditionally gendered names? Though the baby clothing departments would clearly suggest otherwise 🙂

    1. I don’t think of Skyler/Skylar as a nature name. It’s a quirk of mine, but since it’s a variant of Schuyler, I think of Skyler as an occupational name like Miller and Porter. And, because I’m “putting it” in the that category, Skyler feels male to me.

    2. Sky/Skye is a nature name, Skyler/Skylar definitely isnt. Its a different spelling of Schuyler, a dutch boy name.

      1. True, but I think that most people’s orientation upon hearing the name Skyler is that it sounds like Sky and Skylark and thus nature-y.

        Regardless of the name’s true origins, my point was simply that I don’t understand how nature names get gendered as nature is not inherently gendered. But then, we could pose that question about practically any name 🙂

  8. Also if more names become unisex, well you can blame it fully on the girls lol. Its parents wanting to give boy names on girls that today is hard to meet a little boy named Vivian, Hilary, Shelby or Kerry for example.
    However, I hope that even though we will most likely never see those old unisex names return to their original male roots, that the newer unisex names can survive for boys given that parents seem to be changing their mentalities that you cant use it once it goes to the girls side.

  9. Well me being a male Skye, you can imagine that i LOVED her choice haha. I’m glad celebrities are naming their sons unisex names, we need them to keep these names alive for boys. It also seems a fresher choice than the usual ones like Joseph and Matthew.

    I’m more bummed about his middle name, Morrison. Do not like it at all, especially with the last name.

    I’ve just checked the popularity of Skyler and it seems more popular for boys than girls, with girls preferring Skylar. However positions mean nothing, since boy names are highly concentrated the further up you go. A unisex name at #200 for boys and girls might be even for both, but you can bet that there were a lot more boys named that name than girls, since the girls names are more evenly spread out.