Whether it was five weeks in France or five months in South America, I have traveled carry-on only since 2014. So, folks, listen up when I say, “You HAVE to see this!” I found the perfect piece of multiway travel clothing I NEVER want to go on a trip without: the Chrysalis Cardi by Encircled.
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I’ve just returned from two months of travel, including a five-week train trip through Italy and Eastern Europe, during which I practically lived out of the Chrysalis Cardi. Now that it’s been road tested, I wrote a detailed Chrysalis Cardi review.
Wanna go get it RIGHT NOW? Here’s the link to the Chrysalis Cardi by Encircled.
What Is the Chrysalis Cardi?
The Chrysalis Cardi is an ethically-made multiway clothing, which means it is one piece of fabric that can be worn 8+ different ways! This is perfect for minimalists and travelers (and minimalist travelers). The secret to the Cardi’s versatility is the six snaps along the hemlines, which can be used to manipulate the cloth into all sorts of creative fashions. Also, hat tip to my girl Leah at The Sweetest Way. I found out about the Chrysalis Cardi when I saw this gorgeous photo of her wearing the Plum Cardi in Greece.
How to Wear the Chrysalis Cardi
The Cardi can be worn 8 official ways, but many Cardi owners find creative stylings! Below is a photo from the Encircled site showing some of the many ways you can wear it, from a cardigan, to a scarf, to a dress.
Chrysalis Cardi Review: Regular vs. Petite
The Petite Chrysalis Cardi (Charcoal Grey) worn as a Grecian Tunic
The Regular Chrysalis Cardi (Vintage Lavender) worn as a Grecian Tunic
When worn as a dress, the Petite Chrysalis Cardi hits just above my knees, while the Regular covers my knees completely and is more drapey. When worn as a cardigan, the back of the Petite covers my rearend halfway, while the Regular completely covers it. It’s also worth noting that the Charcoal Grey Chrysalis Cardi is made from Modal (Beechwood cellulose), which is softer and thinner-feeling than the Cardi in Vintage Lavender, which is made from Bamboo. Sadly, the Vintage Lavender is no longer in stock, but Encircled says they might bring it back this fall!
I wear the Regular when I want to dress more conservatively, especially for when I go into churches in Europe since I want something that covers my knees. It does tend to be pretty drapey, but with the tie to cinch around my waist, I think I manage to make it work!
The Chrysalis Cardi – All the Ways and Places I Wore It!
On my flight to Italy, I packed my Chrysalis Cardi Petite in Charcoal Grey in my backpack, and wrapped my Chrysalis Cardi Regular in Vintage Lavender twice around my neck and wore it as an infinity scarf on the plane ride.
Remember: Gray is Petite. Purple is Regular.
As a reversed wrap dress while exploring the canals of Venice, Italy:
As a double-looped infinity scarf on a train to Padua, Italy:
As a maxi skirt
Kristi (Encircled’s founder) showed me how to wear the Chrysalis Cardi as a maxi skirt when I visited Encircled HQ. How you do it: Close the snaps like you’re creating the Grecian Tunic version, but then STEP INTO the biggest hole and and wrap it twice around your waist. Then use the TIE that’s included with the Cardi to tie a belt around your waist to hold the skirt up. You don’t need to use snaps for this look.
The Chrysalis Cardi Comes in THREE Sizes
Recommended for women shorter than 5’4″ and sizes XXS-M or those with a slight build. The Cardi is basically one big fabric loop, so it will technically fit women taller than 5’4″ but the will be shorter.
In the photo below, Isabella is wearing the Petite Chrysalis Cardi in Black in the wrap dress style. She is 5’10” and normally wears a size Small (2-4).
Recommended for women 5’4″ and taller, sizes 4-14 (S-XXL).
In the photo below, Isabella is wearing the Regular Chrysalis Cardi in Black in the Grecian Tunic style. She is 5’10” and normally wears a size Small (2-4).
Recommended for women of any height sizes M-XXL or those with a broader frame in the hips or chest.
In the photo below, Jessica is wearing the Maxi Chrysalis Cardi in Black. She is 5’3″ and a size 12-14 (XXL).
Here is the Chrysalis Cardi Size Chart, straight from Encircled’s site. It is VERY accurate, so follow it:
|Garment Length (Laid Flat)||Garment Width (Laid Flat)||Bust |
(xs – xxl)
(xxs – m)
(xl – xxxl)
Should I Get the Petite or the Regular Chrysalis Cardi?
Okay this question of Chrysalis Cardi in Regular vs. Petite drove me NUTS! Again, I’m right at the cutoff point since Encircled recommends the Petite for those under 5’4″ and I’m 5 feet 3 and a half.
- You want a dress that covers your knees
- You want the Cardi version to cover your bum
- You want a dress that hits above the knee
- You don’t mind the Cardi version being a bit shorter and not covering your rearend
When in doubt, if you can, get both! In fact, you could get both, try them on, and then return whichever didn’t work out (just please be considerate and don’t wear perfumes or deodorant/makeup that could rub off on the clothing). It’s a hassle to return outside Canada because of Customs though, so I wouldn’t be bothered with doing a return.
If you’re STILL stuck on whether you should get the Chrysalis Cardi in Regular or Petite, it really ALL comes down to this: Would you rather your dresses err on the “too short” side or the “too long” side? Personally, I’d rather a dress be too long than too short. I feel more comfortable traveling solo in foreign countries if my clothes border on the conservative side. That’s just me.
How Did My Chrysalis Cardis Hold Up After TWO Months of Travel?
I was worried that the fabric on the Chrysalis Cardi would pill, especially since I’ve been traveling with a backpack and a messenger bag on me with LOTS of walking. I’m happy to say there was little to no pilling where my backpack and bag rubbed the fabric constantly. It still looks GREAT.
I was also worried about the Cardi wrinkling because I had it stuffed into my backpack. However, once I took it out and draped it over the back of a chair or hung it on a hanger, the wrinkles went away on their own! Love me some wrinkle-free travel clothing!
The only issues I’ve had is on the hemline where the snaps are sewn. Some of the thread is starting to come off, as you can see here:
But that’s easily fixable with a needle and thread, and I know Encircled sends replacement snaps if you need them.
Keep in mind my Cardis went under BRUTAL treatment as I backpacked through Europe by train. They constantly had a massive 20-pound backpack rubbing up against them, and I wore them almost every day.
How to Wash the Chrysalis Cardi
The care instructions on the Encircled site recommend washing the Chrysalis Cardi via hand wash only in warm water with a laundry detergent that has NO fragrance. I was so afraid of ruining my precious Cardis that I panicked over how to wash it on the road!
I am happy to report that I have washed the Cardi in all of the following ways, and it has NOT been ruined:
- In cold, warm, and hot water by hand
- With soap and detergent that had fragrance
- In a washing machine on the “hand wash” mode, which I only ever found on European washing machines
- I have never put the Cardi inside a dryer
Why Buy from Encircled?
Words like “sustainable” and “buy local” stopped being something trendy to me and started being an ethical way to live my life. I used to be obsessed with fast fashion (ahem—Forever 21, H&M) because it was cheap and easy to find.
But the truth is, even if you got that skirt for $5—someone is paying a price. It might be someone you never see, like the woman at working under deplorable conditions in a sweatshop in Sri Lanka, but someone is paying.
Additionally, producing synthetic fabrics en masse releases toxic pollution into the environment.
Thanks to ethical clothing brands like Encircled, I don’t have to worry about those things. Encircled makes its ethical clothing in Toronto, and even frequently shows you behind-the-scenes video of its sewing studio. It uses sustainable material that minimizes its impact on the environment.
Encircled’s small team really cares about their customers. I even met the founder, Kristi, in Toronto and she’s amazing!
Yes, Encircled’s price points are higher than, say, Forever 21’s. That’s because Encircled crafts clothing that lasts, sews everything locally in Toronto, and uses premium eco-friendly material such as Modal (made from Beechwood cellulose, a renewable source!) and Bamboo. I am 100% confident my investment into my beautiful Chrysalis Cardis will pay off big time—they already have! I mean, I wore this thing all over Europe, Canada, and the U.S. It transitioned beautifully from evening wear for a night out at the Vienna State Opera House, to a cozy cardi to lounge in with sweatpants in a monastery in Italy.
Want to change the world? You are changing it with every action you make. Support with your dollars.
What I’ve Bought From Encircled (So Far!)
- Regular Chrysalis Cardi in Vintage Lavender
- Petite Chrysalis Cardi in Charcoal Grey
- Flipside Leggings in Navy Blue/Black (These are amazing and deserve their own review. They’re double-layered so NOT see through, and they’re super soft. They can be reversed too!)
Get Your Own Chrysalis Cardi TODAY—You Will NOT Regret It!
As you can tell, I am a HUGE fan of the Chrysalis Cardi and Encircled as a whole. This is by far one of the best items I own (I’m a minimalist, so that means a lot!). I think you’ll love your Cardi as much as I love mine.
*Please note that while these are affiliate and referral links, Encircled did NOT ask me to write this post, and they did NOT give me any free product. I bought both Cardis and the Flipside Leggings with my own money.