The Best Places to Shop Retail in Downtown Kingston

Updated: May 7



"Do you have a blog post where you list the places to shop in Downtown Kingston?"

A valid question I received at my last workshop, that I embarrassingly had to answer, "Ummm nope! I had thought of doing one but I assumed everyone already knew..."


And so here we are!


It's sad to say, but I've been complained to many times along the lines of: Kingston doesn't have anywhere cool to shop! But I have to disagree; I've successfully dressed over thirty women in this city using the resources we have (and a great eye). Do we have everything? No. Can you build an entirely new wardrobe just in Kingston? Maybe. Could we use some additions or improvements? Yes, we could! But until that happens, I encourage shoppers to spend more time looking through what each downtown store has to offer and really lean on the sales associates (or myself) to help you shop with intention and walk out happy.


Question: how many times have you walked into a store and judged or left based on their mannequins/displays? I know that's sometimes the easiest way to to understand what the store has to offer, but you're likely doing yourself a disservice; especially if the staff have never been trained to style a mannequin. Can I make a request? Do yourself and the store a favour by actually taking your time to look through their clothing! Start on your right or left and work your way around until you've looked at everything in the store.


And if something catches your eye? Try it on, damnit!


Ahem. Now that we've got that out of the way - below is a quick list of the retail stores in our beautiful downtown Kingston, including a description of what you'd find there along with my experience.


Women's Clothing

  • Modern Primitive | 72 Princess St | Come in and stock up on your favourite Indian incense, a new pair of Mexican silver earrings, a cute Thai sundress, some intricate Nepalese bracelets or an Indonesian wood carving. Everything I've ever bought from here feels like a true treasure! Highly recommend.

  • Smith Army Surplus | 86 Princess Street | The go-to store for military, tactical and outdoor gear. This is where I stock up on thermal socks for the winter!

  • Hatley | 112 Princess St | Hatley's mission is to create fun, well designed, nature-inspired apparel and gifts for the whole family in an ecologically responsible way. I'll be honest when I say I thought this was a children's-only store, but now that I know their mission I'm making a point to visit them asap!

  • Verde Alternatives | 123 Princess St | Verde is an environmental general store that carries a little bit of everything, from house & home to bath & body and clothes & books for the whole family. I stumbled into this store when a client of mine was looking for Linen and I had exhausted all other options. I wandered to the back where all the clothes were and hit the jackpot. I found and fell in love with this handmade dress made by a woman in Africa. Highly recommend for eco-friendly household products and one-of-a-kind summer clothing made by women who were paid a fair wage.

  • Cloth Clothing | 131 Princess Street | Cloth was designed to be a unique, enjoyable and affordable shopping experience. They aim to carry something for everyone, which means offering sizes from XS to 2X- something hard to come by in Kingston. The pieces they carry are unique, and offer something special that guests would otherwise need to travel to Toronto or Ottawa in order to find. Their store is so beautiful, and so is their staff! My advice for shopping in Cloth is to take your time and step out of your comfort zone. The store is so packed full of beautiful clothes that it's easy to miss something you might love.

  • Overstocks | 169 Princess Street | Overstocks is a family owned business operating 2 retail locations in Kingston and Brockville. They bring in the best, most trusted brands in fashion, footwear, home furnishings, accessories and more at outlet prices. I have yet to check this place out but am really intrigued by their business model! Stay tuned for an update.

  • Gap Kingston | 230 Princess Street | The Gap needs no introduction. I found a great pair of flared jeans and a white button-up here and find the staff to always be quite lovely and helpful. Hit up the sales, always!

  • Whit Kingston | 243 Princess Street The new sister store to Agent 99, Whit Kingston is an indie boutique that offers clothing, accessories and trinkets that are perfect for the college crowd. I've been in here a few times and the staff is always helpful. They carry a fun selection of Hershel backpacks and basic hoodies. I've found a couple beanies I love here and always stop by for the latest trends.

  • Agent 99 | 244 Princess Street | Agent 99 is the go-to for the trendy girls in town. Known for their prom dresses and lavish accessories, this bright and beautiful store carries unique pieces you won't find at any other downtown store. I frequent Agent when I'm looking for something bold, fancy, or unexpected and just adore the ladies that work there.

  • Trailhead Kingston | 262 Princess Street | Kingston’s locally owned and operated outdoor store specializing in quality outdoor gear, clothing and footwear. They're also very active in the community - offering clinics, tours, workshops, rentals and special events. I'm a big fan of the Trailhead store and the people who work there. Although I'm not their typical customer, I have found some great basics and high quality pieces here (think cable-knit sweaters, rain jackets, and awesome jeans). Every brand they carry is either ethically or sustainably responsible and their staff is highly knowledgeable (swoon). I recommend everyone checks out this wonderful store and purchases their winter gear from here! Bonus: They don't use plastic bags and carry Knixwear.

  • Lululemon Athletica | 270 Princess St | Lululemon makes technical athletic clothes for yoga, running, working out, and most other sweaty pursuits. I have to be honest when I say I don't own anything Lulu so I can't offer much advice here.

  • Roots Canada | 229 Princess Street | Roots is one of my my go-tos for fall/winter accessories like scarves, ponchos and hats.

  • I MODE | 206 Princess St | I-Mode is a family run business established in 2010 by Sherri Dadmand; a Fashion Designer and graduate from St Lawrence College. At I-Mode you will see a great selection of women's designer clothing and gowns. I have yet to check this place out so am not sure what to expect!

  • Fancy That / Roundstone | 48 & 50 Princess Street | Your downtown Kingston destination for Trend Setting European Inspired Styles, with a sophisticated and empathic team to help you find the style you're looking for. Another one of my favourites! These ladies know what they're doing and are honest with their feedback. I recently borrowed a collection of clothing from these stores to style the Leggings Lookbook and fell in love with every piece. They buy and carry beautifully made clothing that we are lucky to have in our city. Each piece is worth every penny.

  • A-One Clothing | 358 King Street | A-One Clothing is best described as an outdoor lifestyle, clothing and footwear store located in the heart of downtown Kingston. Their products come from Canada, the U.S., New Zealand, and Australia among other countries. I haven't been here yet, but have always heard great reviews about the products they carry. Every store is worth a look!

  • Gracie's | 326 King Street | Discover fun and fresh ready-to-wear fashions, hats and accessories from a unique selection of designers. Clothing brands include Sympli, Frank Lyman, Parkhurst, Tribal, Cut loose, Color Me Cotton, Click, Bali, Libra, Marble, Soya Concept. I've taken a client shopping here a few times and am so pleased with the quality and styles of clothing that are offered. I highly recommend!

  • Chris James Kingston | 253 Ontario Street | Chris James is a stunning 2,700-square-foot environment for showcasing the latest Canadian and international designs for men and women. Since 2010, this full-service fashion boutique has served Kingston and Eastern Ontario with one-on-one customer care, wardrobe development and consultation, tailoring, custom-cut orders and private shopping. I had the pleasure of working here post-grad and learned an invaluable amount of information from Jim Adams. Both Jim and Christine have an eye for buying and their store is a beautiful reflection of that. Fashions are more sophisticated and price is high, but reasonable if you make bank.

  • Waterfront Gifts & Apparel | 248 Ontario St. | Waterfront Gifts & Apparel features unique clothing, jewelry and gifts, focusing on local and made in Canada items, plus unique finds from around the world. This store is my go-to when I'm looking for clothing with Kingston/Canadian pride.

  • House of Angelis | 63 Brock St. | Owned by the Angelis sisters and their mother, House of Angelis offers undergarments and fashion basics to elegant accessories, along with personal styling help from the trio themselves. I had the pleasure of being styled by Maria for a Refined Magazine Photoshoot and was well taken care of (she made me feel like a queen). They are a lovely bunch with a flare for fashion and have a beautiful boutique. I've been recommended here for custom bra-fittings and a stunning lace selection, but don't quite have the budget for their beautiful lingerie just yet. Fingers crossed I do soon!


Men's Clothing

  • Smith Army Surplus | 86 Princess Street | The go-to store for military, tactical and outdoor gear. This is where I stock up on thermal socks for the winter.

  • Overstocks | 169 Princess Street | Overstocks is a family owned business operating 2 retail locations in Kingston and Brockville. They bring in the best, most trusted brands in fashion, footwear, home furnishings, accessories and much, much more at outlet prices. I have yet to check this place out but am really intrigued by their business model.

  • Whit Kingston | 243 Princess Street The new sister store to Agent 99, Whit Kingston is an indie boutique that offers clothing, accessories and trinkets that are perfect for the college crowd. I've been in here a few times and the staff is always friendly . Great selection of Hershel backpacks and basic hoodies. I found a couple beanies I love here.

  • Trailhead Kingston | 262 Princess Street | Kingston’s locally owned and operated outdoor store specializing in quality outdoor gear, clothing and footwear. They're also very active in the community - offering clinics, tours, workshops, rentals and special events. I'm a big fan of the Trailhead store and the people who work there. Although I'm not their typical customer, I have found some great basics and quality pieces here. Every brand they carry is either ethically or sustainably responsible and their staff is highly knowledgeable. I recommend everyone checks out this wonderful store and purchases something from here! Bonus: They don't use plastic bags!

  • Lululemon Athletica | 270 Princess St | Lululemon makes technical athletic clothes for yoga, running, working out, and most other sweaty pursuits. I have to be honest when I say I don't own anything Lulu so I can't offer much advice here.

  • UNDR for Men | 68 Princess Street | UNDR for Men specializes in men’s underwear, socks, loungewear, swimwear, robes and sleepwear. They also offer men’s skin care, beard care and products needed for a good shave! Their brands come from as far away as Japan and as close to home as Kingston, Ontario. Situated in a gorgeous heritage building in the heart of downtown Kingston, they have fostered an accepting and inviting atmosphere towards a diverse clientele. I love shopping here for my sweets!

  • The Men's Zone | 296 Queen Street | Located above Bridal Creations, The Men's Zone is an exclusive Men's Suiting Boutique offering top-notch customer service, quality suits, and affordable pricing. Contact Steve Murano at (613) 546-9149 for hours of operation or a suit fitting - they don't seem to have an online presence. I've been here for a photoshoot before and was impressed with everything Steve had to offer. He's a very personable man who wants to help you find the perfect suit for your needs without breaking the bank. Great turn-around times and selection already within the store!

  • Halley's Fashion for Men | 157 Wellington Street | From the fashion forward brands of Robert Graham, Signum, Bugatchi, and Brax, to the more classic looks of Lipson, Viyella, Cutter and Buck, Coppley , Green Coast and S.Cohen, a deep appreciation for individual taste, combined with wide selection is at the centre of the HALLEY'S experience.

  • A-One Clothing | 358 King Street | A-One Clothing is best described as an outdoor lifestyle, clothing and footwear store located in the heart of downtown Kingston. Their products come from Canada, the U.S., New Zealand, and Australia among other countries. I haven't been here yet, but have always heard great reviews about the products they carry. Every store is worth a look!

  • Chris James Kingston | 253 Ontario Street | Chris James is a stunning 2,700-square-foot environment for showcasing the latest Canadian and international designs for men and women. Since 2010, this full-service fashion boutique has served Kingston and Eastern Ontario with one-on-one customer care, wardrobe development and consultation, tailoring, custom-cut orders and private shopping. I had the pleasure of working here post-Graduation and learned an invaluable amount of information from Jim Adams. Both Jim and Christine have an eye for buying and their store is a beautiful reflection of that. Fashions are more sophisticated and price is high.

  • Waterfront Gifts & Apparel | 248 Ontario St. | Waterfront Gifts & Apparel features unique clothing, jewelry and gifts, focusing on local and made in Canada items, plus unique finds from around the world. This store is my go-to when I'm looking for clothing with Kingston/Canadian pride.


Used Clothing

  • Phase 2 Clothing & Uniforms | 353 Princess St | Phase 2 is a family owned Canadian business specializing in the sale of quality recycled clothing and new uniforms. All recycled clothing is individually selected and purchased from privately owned wholesalers, then the merchandise is professionally cleaned and priced at a fraction of the original cost. They stock brand new Chef Wear, Restaurant Wear, Lab Coats, Uniforms, Queen's apparel and accessories all at a reasonable price. I have bought a uniform here but haven't looked through the clothing yet.

  • What'll I Wear? | 338 Princess St | A colourful arrangement of vintage and recycled clothing for men and women. Find the perfect accessory to complete your outfit from our selection of belts, hats, shoes, boots, scarves, purses and bags. Play dress up with their wigs and other masquerade items, or discover your new favourite piece of jewellery in their collection of vintage costume jewellery. I love it here! Some very unique pieces.

  • Antique Alley | 207B Wellington St | Nestled inside of the back buildings along Wellington Street, Antique Alley offers over 4000 square feet of antiques and collectibles, including vintage clothing and retro items, from eight different vendors. Our eclectic inventory will amaze you as soon as you walk through our door. I have yet to check this place out.

  • Cash for Clothes Kingston | 359 Barrie St | The owners are a very sweet couple who are a pleasure to be around! Everything in the store costs five dollars or less, and you can also sell your gently-worn clothing for $1 a pound in cash or $2 a pound in store credit. I've found some amazing pieces here. They keep the racks clean and not jam-packed. Highly recommend!

  • The Goodway | 844 Division St | A great local thrift shop that's always tidy, never over-stocked and all proceeds stay in Kingston!

  • ClosettCandyy Consignment | Yep, you read that right! I now offer secondhand items on consignment from client's wardrobes as well as my own. Appointments available upon request!


Children's Clothing

  • Cash for Clothes Kingston | 359 Barrie St | The owners are a very sweet couple who are a pleasure to be around! Everything in the store costs five dollars or less, and you can also sell your gently-worn clothing for $1 a pound in cash or $2 a pound in store credit. I've found some amazing pieces here. They keep the racks clean and not jam-packed. Highly recommend!

  • Hip Kids Kingston | 233 Princess Street | Hip Kids is an independently owned and operated Baby Shop in downtown Kingston. I don't have children, but my friends do! I frequent here for birthday and baby shower gifts and am never disappointed by the selection.

  • Gap Kids | 234 Princess Street

  • Roots Kids | 229 Princess Street

  • Hatley | 112 Princess St

  • A-One Kids Clothing | 358 King Street


Stay tuned as I launch three follow-ups to this post: where to buy shoes in Kingston, where to shop throughout the rest of Kingston, and who the best clothing designers are in this small but mighty town!


Thanks for reading,

xo Jesse

ClosettCandyy is a wardrobe consulting service created by Jesse Whale serving the areas of Kingston and beyond. Virtual sessions are available.
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