I’m a minimalist and so I am a big fan packing light. Like, a BIG fan. Early on in my travels, I noticed I end up wearing usually only my favorites in my luggage. This usually means I only end up wearing less than 50% of what I bring.

Thus, I decided for any trips shorter than a month, I will no doubt be bringing just a carry-on. When I pack for any trip, I always make sure the clothes I bring are classic and versatile. They must be designed where I can easily layer, mix and match and be able to wear it multi-ways. But what if your wardrobe not only gives you a variety of outfits, but is also stylish, sustainable and oh… so comfy?

Enter Encircled

Begun by Kristi Soomer who was a consultant traveling over 100,000 miles a year and virtually living at airports. She knows a thing or two about wanting to look put together and feel comfortable when traveling.

I first met her at the Women in Travel Summit earlier this year. As soon as I heard Encircled is a Canadian fashion brand that blends style with comfort to help people be more with less I was excited to learn more. Its pieces are designed with functionality in mind and are committed to being ethically-made. Encircled


All pieces are sustainably made locally in Canada. What I love most is the fabric. The materials they use are soft and are chosen based on their sustainable benefits. Modal, tencel and bamboo are all naturally-derived, biodegradable, and have longevity of wear.

The dyes used are free of harmful chemicals, making them gentle on your skin, health, and kinder to the environment. Before I left for Europe this summer, I went to the studio and picked up two pieces. I got the Revolve Dress (Long Sleeve) in navy blue and the Chrysalis Cardi Petite in plum purple.

Why I chose the Revolve and the Chrysalis Cardi Petite?

It’s summer in Europe, and I want to be wearing dresses with colors that offered multiple ways to wear it. The Revolve is a 6-in-1 piece that offered me the option to wear it as a dress and a shirt. It is reversible and you can wear with the cowl neck in the front or back.

I always carry a long sleeve with me when I travel, as you never can predict the weather so having a long sleeve in my suitcase is crucial in my mind, as it may come in a handy for a chilly night. And the Revolve, actually saved me from an unexpected unusually chilly June in Portugal.

The Chrysalis Cardi offered even more ways to wear it. It is basically a looped piece of cloth with 6 snaps placed in strategic areas. It comes with a little instruction booklet that gives you step-by-step instructions. Or you can check out Encircled website on How to wear the Chrysalis Cardi video tutorials. From a scarf to a cardi, to multiple ways of wearing it as a dress, to a back halter, the possibilities seemed endless, it was a no brainer, I had to add this multi-functional piece to my wardrobe.

What did I end up wearing more?

I ended up wearing them both quite a bit. Due to the unexpected chilly summer in Porto this year, the Revolve Dress long sleeve came in handy.  But when I was traveling through Malta and Spain when the weather was super hot, I wore the Chrysalis Cardis.  On occasion, I would use the Chrysalis Cardi as a scarf, wrap or cardi on plane rides if it got cold. What I love about the fabric is it is so soft and it is breathable.

How easy is it to wear the Chrysalis Cardi Petite?

As a scarf and dress, it is pretty easy to get on.  My two favorite looks are the one shoulder dress and the Grecian tunic. My favorite part of these two looks is that you can also make it into a romper. There are two snaps at the bottom. You can snap it in between your legs.

Wrap the sash around you and then adjust the fabric over the belt to desired look. This piece is meant to be versatile. And you definitely can play around with it and make up your own.

Wearing it as a top, I found it tricky to get it looking right.  I felt like I looked frumpy. The X-back halter is form fitting but it was the most complicated to figure out.

How were my two dresses like after THREE months of travel?

Color I was worried the color of the fabric would fade because I washed it so often in the washer but it didn’t. It remains vibrant. For drying, I line dried them and never put them in a dryer.
Pill The fabric did pill after several wears but it is not as visible because the color remains strongly in tact as if it was new.
Workmanship The only issue I had was with the hemline where the snaps are sewn on the Crysalis Cardi Petite. They thread was coming off after two wears and wash. I had to secure and sew them back on. I did notify Encircled. They did offer to repair it for me but I had already sewed it back on and I was in Europe. When you are removing the snaps from each other, be gentle with it. Don’t pull them off.

Is it easy to care for?

Yes, It tells you to hand or machine-wash cold and lay dry. Do not iron. Do not dry clean.

Does it wrinkle?

The fabric surprisingly holds itself pretty well. I like to roll my clothes when I pack.  When I took them out, I noticed some wrinkles. Hang the garment or drape it over a chair. Take it with you to the bathroom as you shower, it will go away on its own.

What is the difference between Chrysalis Cardi Petite and Chrysalis Cardi? 

I am between 55 and 5’6 or 165-168 cm. The Chrysalis Cardi Petite sits above your knee when you wear it as a dress. The Chrysalis Cardi sits below your knee.  I got the Chrysalis Cardi Petite because I like my dresses to be above my knees. The only thing is, if you decide to wear the dress as ‘The Wrap Dress,’ where the back is criss-crossed, the side can be a bit tight.

The Chrysalis Cardi is definitely roomier. If you are looking to be more conservative and is looking for a dress that falls before your knees, or you plan to wear it more as wrap/cardi, you may want to get the regular Chrysalis Cardi. But I would suggest opting for Chrysalis Cardi Petite because

1. There was a lot of fabric;

2. This piece is so versatile. You can make it your own; You can equally wear the petite and turn it into a maxi dress or use it as a when you need to cover up in mosques or temples.

Want your own Encircled apparel?

IoIf you love the casual comfy chic look and would like to order one of these dresses yourself (and you should — they’ve even been featured on Canadian Geographic, FASHION, and Travel Fashion Girl, head over to the Encircled now!

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