To heck with restraint. Today, we’re looking for female names that demand 100% of the spotlight—and 100% of your respect. Names that leave you impressed, maybe even a little intimidated. Maximalist, not minimalist. Womanly, not girlish. Not delicate flowers, but grandes dames.
These names won’t necessarily be an easy sell today. Elegance is in style, but mostly in delicate, flowing forms like Olivia and Annabella. The grandes dames are heavier. That weight may not be strictly fashionable, but it’s put to good purpose. It’s part draped velvet, part steel backbone.
As a group, these names hit their heyday back in the 1890s. A few had later moments in the sun, like Ursula in the 1960s-’70s thanks to actress Ursula Andress. But by and large, they remain cast in the role of the severe Victorian great aunt, bringing the younger generations of her wealthy family to their knees with the raising of one eyebrow. Heck yeah, Aunt Lucretia. You show ’em.
31 Grande Dame Names