If I ever meet the founder of Encircled, I’m going to hug her. That, or buy her a serious serving of poutine.
When I scoped out this Canadian brand online I thought it had a cool shtick. Encircled makes clothes that let you “be more with less,” or, in my words, clothes that liberate your precious brain space for more important things like work, travel, relationships, reading – whatever you fancy. A minimalist’s fantasy, fulfilled. But I’d tried and failed with multiway garments in the past, so I wasn’t sure Encircled would fit my admittedly finicky standards.l
I thought I had to choose between form or function. Then, I met the Chrysalis Cardi.
Encircled, at first glance
The brand offers a concise lineup of classic garments that are easy to style and pack for a lifestyle on the move. Some pieces fall on the on the athleisure spectrum, while others, eight to be specific, are considered ‘multiway’ garments. The entire collection is offered in basic colors and a few pieces are offered in more distinctive colorways like a striking teal or a rich plum (pictured here). Both are still elegant and classic. Another thing that sets Encircled apart from other minimalist brands is how shopable the website is. I’m sure you know that’s a real rarity these days with so many online marketplaces to choose from. Encircled lets you refine by size, style or “adventure” by selecting categories like Vacation Days, Days at Home or Business as Usual.
Furthermore, Encircled really shines in the multiway category. They offer a dress, kimono, reversible skirt, drapey blouse, leggings, and the cardigan pictured here, each with dedicated “how to wear” guides and videos.
The most multiway of them all
Now, to the Chrysalis Cardi, Encircled’s most complex, and most useful garment. When I say it’s the only garment you’ll need to buy all year it’s because it can be styled eight ways thanks to a few covert snaps.
To unpack this smart piece, I have to take you through my whole process. When I pulled mine out of the box, it looked like a pretty standard wrap scarf [you know the infinity type I’m talking about]. Then, I dove a little deeper into the instruction manual. Calling it a scarf was a gross understatement. I was, after all, able to make three entirely different dresses out of this thing!
On to styling. After watching the video guides, I decided to do the Grecian Tunic (easy level), the One Shoulder Dress (medium level), and the Cocoon Cardi (easy level) – all shown in the photos here. By pinning together the snaps, which by the way, are cheekily named ‘male’ and ‘female’, I was able to put together each of these looks in under 2 minutes. Added bonus: an unexpected sense of achievement after I mastered each look.
There was, however, one exception to my success. I never fully grasped the X-Back Halter (adventurous level). It had me twisted in fabric and flustered after 10 minutes. But don’t let that sway you from trying. Besides, the photos look kick ass.
Why it’s form and function
Now you know how functional the Chrysalis is, but the real reason I love this garment is because of the fabric and draping. Each time the snaps came together and I cinched the final look with the belt there was a definite “ohhhh” moment.
The silky, stretchy material – a blend of modal and spandex – helped it conform to my body and allowed me to manipulate it so it draped just how I wanted [read: emphasizing my curves and deemphasized problem areas]. I will caution that it’s quite form fitting, so if you’re looking for that ‘bag dress’ style that’s so of the moment you’ll to look elsewhere.
Personally, I think the way the drapes fell on me, especially in the one shoulder style, looked really elegant. Because of this unexpected polish, I would feel completely comfortable wearing this style to a nice restaurant or event.
I also travel frequently and this is the only piece I’ve found that creates dressy and causal looks. So, I’d buy this over others because it’s bang for your buck. Before this shoot, I had a routine for ‘streamlined packing.’ It usually went like this: choose monochromatic tones (no lights) in classic silhouettes and wear as many articles of clothing on the plane as humanely possible. But the Encircled proves there’s a better way to travel and live light, and it starts with the Chrysalis cardigan.
Next trip I’m tossing it, along with my toiletries, in a backpack and not looking back. I’m already planning what I’ll do with my extra time…
More to love
- It’s easy to care for. It’s machine washable. I did mine a delicates garment bag and the color stayed vibrant and didn’t pill.
- More chic than expected. It’s the draping that does it. That and the quality fabric and double reinforced snaps.
- It good for workwear, athleisurewear, loungewear, dresswear…probably morewear
- Eco-conscious Fabrics. Primarily low-impact closed loop fabrics like Bamboo, Modal, MicroModal and Tencel.
- Recyclable shipping materials
- Low impact dyes
- Use of off-cut fabrics for headbands, leg warmers and hair ties (close to zero-waste model)
- Mostly paperless office management
- Green website hosting (yes, this is a thing)
- 100% sewn in Toronto, Canada
- Disclosure of contractors
Encircled’s Chrysalis Cardigan is an ingenious idea for minimal living that’s beautifully wearable.
- One garment.
- Style it 8 ways.
- Sustainable, soft material.
- More chic than expected.
- Fancy draping.
- Looks different on everyone.
Good for: workwear, activewear, lougewear, dresswear…probably morewear
This post was sponsored by Encircled and contains affilate links. That means the cardigan was gifted and I was compensated for my time writing, editing and shooting. The review is still 100% my own candid opinion. I do the homework so you can shop informed.