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How to Shop on a Student Budget: Kingston Edition

Early on in my time at Queen’s, I had some difficulty finding the clothes I wanted at the price that my clothing budget wanted.  I spent fairly irresponsibly for a while (there is a very real danger that comes with putting a university campus so close to an American Apparel store) but it was unsustainable. In these past months I’ve come to find a very happy medium of tracking down stylish, on-trend clothes which don’t break the bank, available in shops located close to the Queen’s campus.

These are my top five recommendations of budget savvy stores in Kingston:

  1. H&M

H&M is this list’s crown jewel. Whether you’re searching for a specific item or just in the mood to browse the collection, H&M almost always has something to offer at a usually reasonable price. Located in the Cataraqui Centre, a short bus ride from campus, H&M is a one stop shop for a variety of on trend pieces in business wear, basics, casual and accessories.

  1. Target

Target’s women section is always full of surprises. Over the past few seasons their design team has been working hard to pay attention to seasonal trends, while maintaining very student friendly pricing. Also worth mentioning is the recent collaborations they’ve done with designers like Peter Pilotto and Phillip Lim to provide runway ready collections at unbelievable prices (see the collections here and here). The time for those two specific collections has now passed but it gives you an idea of all of the good things Target has to come, and a reason to keep them in mind. You can go see for yourself by visiting the Target located at the Cataraqui Centre!

  1. The Bay

There will always be a sweet spot in my heart for the Bay. As with Target, the size of the women’s department may seem daunting but there is many a bargain to be found amongst the racks. They carry a large variety of stylish brands (Calvin Klein, BCBG, Rachel Roy) and almost always have promotions and reductions which put them within reasonable budget range.

  1. Urban Outfitters

Urban Outfitters classically falls in the neighbourhood of “a little too pricey for a student budget”. However, they frequently have hugely reduced items hidden away on the second floor of the Princess Street location. It’s always worth passing through to see what pieces you could snag. With sale sections, it may be harder to find a specific item. You’ll have more success here if you’re just in the mood to browse and ready to go with whatever is available.  

  1. Independent Shops on Princess Street

Princess Street is host to many independent clothing stores with friendly local owners and clothing styles that appeal to every taste. Most of the ones that I’ve ventured into have had decent prices and great outfit options. Whether you’re on the hunt for a specific piece or just browsing, give local retailers a try. You’ll probably be pleasantly surprised!


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