I like to be comfortable but hate boring, dumpy outfits. When we have limited suitcase space, sometimes travel outfits are repetitive and uninspiring. If you’re in need of a versatile piece perfect for all kinds of trips, I’ve got you. The Chrysalis Cardi from the the ethical Canadian brand Encircled is a travel must. Let’s get into my Chrysalis Cardi review and you’ll see why this garment tops my best travel clothing for Europe list.
Encircled Chrysalis Cardi review
I first heard of Encircled several years ago when a blogger I followed reviewed one of their items. I didn’t know much about ethical fashion at the time and to be honest, I didn’t know enough to care. That’s changed. What I liked was the look of the drapey, multi-way Chrysalis Cardi and the fact that it was ethically made in Canada like all of their pieces was just an added bonus. But I didn’t have the budget to invest in any of Encircled’s pieces so I kept an eye on them from afar. Then last summer, I treated myself to the Chrysalis Cardi.
Encircled is all about thoughtfully designed modern basics and multi-way pieces that are sustainability made in Canada. The company was founded in 2012 by a former management consultant named Kristi Soomer whose dream was to help women travel lighter. All of their pieces are soft, comfortable and can be dressed up or down.
What is the Chrysalis Cardi?
The Chrysalis Cardi was Encircled’s first design and is a bestseller for a reason. This flattering multi-way garment is one of my favorites for travel and is the best travel dress out there. From a cardigan to a multi-way dress (Grecian tunic, one-shoulder gown, etc.) to a classic infinity scarf and more, you’ll get your money’s worth!
So basically, the concept is simple but it’s the details that matter. It’s a giant tube of fabric — a strategically designed, fabulous tube. 😉 With snaps and a separate belt.
It’s these hand-sewn metal snaps that create the magic. They’re hidden along the hem and mix and match to literally snap your look together. The dress looks like a dress, not a piece of fabric snapped together. The cardigan looks like it’s supposed to be a cardigan, and so on. Each Chrysalis Cardi also comes with a belt made of the same material that’s needed for some of the looks.
I think it’s a fantastic piece for travel — can even double as a blanket on a chilly plane — but it’s perfect for all types of events and situations even at home. Date night dress? Check. Shawl for a chilly theater? Check. Top to wear out to brunch? Check. It does it all!
It comes in three sizes: petite, medium, and maxi. I bought the medium/regular. I’m 5’7″ and generally wear a US 8 in clothes or a medium in mainstream brands.
It retails for US$168. No, it’s not cheap but it’s crazy versatile and well made. Read up on why sustainable fashion is worth the extra money.
My favorite way to wear it is the Grecian tunic and is the look I’m sporting below. It took a little finagling to get the fabric to wrap and lay correctly for my body type. The finished look was easy enough to achieve although it’s helpful to have an extra set of hands to help you get the look, at least the first couple of tries.
Although I’ve worn it as a cardigan and infinity scarf, I keep going back to the fact that it’s “too nice” to wear as a simple scarf or shawl. I find myself always wanting to wear it as a dress, so that’s what I normally do.
Now let’s get to the sizing…
The Encircled website explains the sizing:
The medium/regular is a one size fits most garment ranging from sizes XS-XXL or 2-14. It can be easily belted in multiple ways, however the regular/medium is not recommended for petite or shorter women due to the volume of fabric. The petite size would be better suited for them. The maxi is recommended for curvier/taller women so the fabric doesn’t pull around the bust or hips. More on sizing here.
I wear the Encircled bandeau bra underneath the dress. Everything is covered and the snaps and belt hold the fabric in place. The snaps are tight so there’s no chance of them unsnapping and exposing you underneath.
What I love about Encircled’s Chrysalis Cardi:
-It comes in a variety of colors and 3 lengths. I love the jewel tones. If you tend to sweat a lot or will be wearing it in a warm climate, black is probably your best bet to hide perspiration.
–Super soft fabric. Not see through or thin but not unflatteringly thick either. Perfect weight and 100% opaque. It’s modal which is made through an environmentally-conscious process where 95% of water and materials used to make the fabric are recycled. The fabric is also OEKO-TEX® Standard 100 certified which means it doesn’t contain harmful chemicals.
–Versatility of the garment with 8+ ways to wear it. I find myself wearing it as a one-shoulder dress the most. Here’s a video showing all the ways to wear the Chrysalis Cardi.
–Flattering and works for all body types. Drapes nicely.
One area where Encircled could improve the Chrysalis Cardi:
After a bit of use, I’ve found that the snap stitching has loosened up. It would be great if Encircled added extra stitching to reinforce the snaps to make them even sturdier. I’m very careful to not pull on the fabric when I unsnap the snaps and instead put my nail in between to pry them open. I could see the snaps getting loose or even becoming unattached or ripping if someone was less careful when unsnapping, especially for someone who wears the garment different ways often.
P.S. My other favorite Encircled piece is the Minimalist Mock Neck Sleeveless top although I’m generally not a turtleneck person. It is long enough to be tucked in, fits great and is super soft.
What do you think of the Chrysalis Cardi? Is it a garment you’d wear? What’s your favorite style? What’s your pick for best travel dress?
SHOP Encircled here.
Disclosure: I am an Encircled affiliate which means I may make a commission on your purchase at no additional cost to you. I only support brands I believe in and personally buy from, so thanks for supporting Oui In France.
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