Best New Store for Children’s Clothing and Gifts

The Rue + Roe families include, from left, Rosie Kaufmann, co-founder Maddie Kaufmann, Lucy Kaufmann and co-founder Briana Abedi, plus pups Moo Kaufmann (left) and Rue Abedi. (Photo courtesy of Rue + Roe, by Tatiana Dove).

Co-founders Maddie Kaufmann and Briana Abedi opened Rue + Roe in Gaithersburg’s Kentlands area in August, creating a store that doubles as a welcoming space for toddler yoga classes, book readings, music and the like. “We understand how hard it is for new parents to connect with other like peers,” Abedi says about their intention for Rue + Roe to be more than a brick-and-mortar store. Kaufmann and Abedi’s connection dates to their student days at Winston Churchill High School in Potomac. Many Rue + Roe items are sourced from women-owned sustainable brands that are eco-friendly. Super-soft bamboo pajamas, mini tweed purses and coordinating sibling styles, including onesies, tees, sweatshirts and baseball caps (some say “Little Sis” or “Little Bro”), are customer favorites. Sizes range from newborn to girls 12/14 and boys size 10. Gifts are wrapped at no charge, complete with a tulle ribbon. Purchases also can be made online.

Rue + Roe, 217 Market St. W (Kentlands Market Square), Gaithersburg Instagram @rueandroe

Photo by Bruna Genovese.

Best Place to Shop for Vintage, Quirky and Fun Finds

You can’t help but smile, and maybe even laugh out loud, while browsing My Big Finds in the Kentlands area of Gaithersburg. Owner Jodi Rapaport—with help from local high schoolers she hires and trains—has created an environment infused with friendliness and fun. “I wanted this to be a place for people to escape their current state of stress and just explore and get lost in history and fun finds,” Rapaport says about the store’s eclectic selection of home decor, clothing and gift items that include a “Dude Wagon” pedal car, onesies that read “Speaker of the House,” six-packs of beer-infused soap, and cheekily labeled candles (example: “The Cool Aunt”). Rapaport spent more than two decades in the brokerage industry before opening My Big Finds, initially as a pop-up shop, in 2014. The store opened in its new home in May 2022.

My Big Finds, 129 Commerce Square Place (Kentlands Market Square) Gaithersburg, 301-704-4091

Photo courtesy of fangyá

Best Alternative to Mall Fashion at the Mall

If you’re looking to ditch athleisure wear in favor of trendier garb, you’ll find a shopping experience at Westfield Montgomery mall to steer you in a new direction. Simin Zhu, owner of Fangyán (it’s pronounced fāng yán in Chinese and translates as “dialect”), is sharing 20 emerging Chinese fashion labels. There’s XUNRUO for one-of-a-kind party dresses and WANGREENxCHENCLEAN (WXC) for pushing the fashion envelope. Look to Limone for sophisticated swimwear such as the Tuberose one-piece swimsuit ($108), and to Fansilanen for office attire, including the camel-colored Nadine bow knit dress ($128). The Bethesda showroom opened last August and offers enchanting dresses, coats, knitwear, accessories—in fabrics from silk to cashmere. It’s unlike anything else a trip to the mall has to offer. Let’s face it: No one is going to ask where you got those sweatpants.

Fangyán, 7101 Democracy Blvd. (Westfield Montgomery mall), Bethesda