Names that are so far in, they’re out are names that have been popular for a while that no longer sound interesting, if you are looking for something different. We don’t need another [name]Emily[/name] - while it is still a pretty name. I know some small children named [name]Jennifer[/name] still. 25 years since it was last the most popular name, it is still in the top 100.
Some names feel bound to a period of time, and although some parents still choose it and it remains popular, it is possible within your own community, its time has passed - it’s OUT. The name [name]Brittany[/name] seemed original once, and then if you were on the end of the trend, there were still a lot of Brittanys (and alt-spellings), but you missed the opportunity to choose the name while it was still kind of nifty. My name - I was surprised to find out this name, [name]Karen[/name], sounds like it’s from the 1950s, as I think it is very 60s/70s - in reality it built up over 3 decades to that point and then fell out of favor again. It peaked in 1965, in fact, so I was named a name that was so far in it was already on its way down when I was born, and used increasingly for 30-odd years prior - really a lot of other Karens older than myself and very few younger, which makes it a really good example.
Names like [name]Zachary[/name] and [name]Jonathan[/name] on the boys side might still sound current to people who don’t otherwise discuss these issues (and probably loved these names since their school days, when they had peers with these names), but they had their heyday more than a decade ago each - that doesn’t stop them from having enough popularity now to swim with their peers, but they ring kind of “late 80s/ early 90s” which made them so far in, and now they are out.
[name]Imagine[/name] a clothing style that you admire in a magazine, and by the time you get around to buying it, it’s on the clearance rack. Nice attractive price, you buy it. [name]Plenty[/name] of people still wear it, but that doesn’t mean you will see it in a magazine or get complimented on having a unique style or setting trends, or being hip, with it, even though you saved money and don’t look too out of place - but someone might say “that’s so last year.” Copying what everyone else does is not fashion - so to some people, this makes the name OUT.
It is better to find a name that hasn’t become very popular yet - some people are threatened at all if a name might become too popular and overused. They want the name to ever remain somewhat special. However, this may not be predictable, so it’s more fashionable to be on the early side, in the know, do your research.
I doubt [name]Emma[/name] will hold the rank as long as [name]Emily[/name] - it is similar to a shorter period (11 of 13 years following [name]Jennifer[/name]'s reign) when [name]Jessica[/name] held the top spot as a consolation to [name]Jennifer[/name], battling closely with [name]Ashley[/name] as tastes started to change, and then [name]Emily[/name] just took it away.
In 1980 - [name]Ashley[/name] was at #40, and [name]Emily[/name] at #31. By 1985, [name]Ashley[/name] was #2, [name]Jennifer[/name] was #3, and [name]Emily[/name] had gone up to “only” #24. Probably the best time to use it.
By 1990, [name]Jennifer[/name] was #8 and [name]Emily[/name] was #12. By 1995, [name]Jennifer[/name] was #18 and [name]Emily[/name] was #3. After being #1 for 12 years, [name]Emily[/name] has been overtaken by [name]Emma[/name] last year. After [name]Jessica[/name] left #1/2, it dropped down very fast to find [name]Jennifer[/name].
I think the “so far in, it’s out” has a lot to do with how long a name has been popular, in addition to how popular it is. I don’t think [name]Emily[/name] will retake the top spot as it’s been used for a few decades longer than [name]Emma[/name]. In 1980, when [name]Emily[/name] was at #31, [name]Emma[/name] was at #417, so has only beaten a path to the top because it sounds close to [name]Emily[/name] “but different.” When [name]Emily[/name] goes, so will follow [name]Emma[/name], maybe not immediately, but it’s going. [name]Even[/name] though it’s #1 right now, this is a predictable pattern.