Monday, June 20, 2016

A wardrobe in a mailer box? (Review of the Chrysalis Cardi by Encircled)

2018 Note: This was first posted in 2016, and things at Encircled have changed slightly since then, so I've updated the review slightly.

Website of Encircled
The Chrysalis Cardi (Canadian site)
The Chrysalis Cardi (U.S. and International)
How do you fit three four dresses or tunics, four scarves, a cocoon cardigan, a cape, a wrap, a skirt, a skort, a halter top, and a sash in a box about the size of a sheet of paper?
This is how (see photo below).  This is a Chrysalis Cardi from Encircled, a Canadian company that specializes in eco-friendly, fairly-traded, travel-friendly women's clothing. It's not just a circle scarf; it's a carefully designed and sewn loop of fabric, with six strong snaps that allow several permutations. (INFP's love permutations, potentials, and possibilities.)
This is why I bought what, for me, would normally be an out-of-my-range item of clothing (see photos below). Mr. Fixit and I have a momentous anniversary coming up soon, and I needed a dress.
This is how you can change the "Grecian tunic" dress to more of a crossover style. You can also do it one-shouldered, but that wouldn't stay on the hanger. (Addition: I forgot about the "draped dress"option, snapping two ends around your neck to make a beach or halter dress for summer. That would make it four dresses.)
This is what the dress looks like when you unsnap the snaps and let it hang loose as a circle scarf.
This is what the scarf looks like when you double it up. You can also triple it up if you're cold, or lay the whole thing out flat, fold it corner to corner, and tie it like a blanket scarf.
This photo (below) gives you the general idea of the Cocoon Cardi style. (It looks better with arms coming out of the armholes.)
This is the sash. You can also use it as a hairband or a very skinny scarf.
You can also put the big tube over yourself inside out, secure it with the sash or a belt, fold the top down over the belt, and wear it as a skirt. As someone noted on Encircled's post about that, the snaps are also in the right place to turn the skirt into a skort. (Update: someone else just posted about wearing it as a maxi. I tried it and it works.) And finally (I forgot to mention), you can snap it into a cape; wrap it into...well, a wrap; and hogtie yourself into an X-back Halter, which is one I haven't mastered yet.

Which brings me to the important part. The Encircled website (and all its attached media outlets such as Pinterest, Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram) is an essential resource for getting the most out of a Chrysalis Cardi. (The music from their YouTube videos is now stuck permanently in my brain; I hear it every time I snap the dress together.) Obviously you don't need hand-holding if you're ordering their reversible leggings, Dressy Sweatpants, or t-shirts, but for the multi-personality items, it's very helpful. Their online customer service is also friendly and quick. All the items are made of eco-friendly materials such as modal and bamboo, and they are sewn by cheerful Encircled contractors in Toronto. If you live in Toronto or in one of the other places where they have pop-up shops, you can go and try things on. Otherwise (like me) you will have to order online. But they do take returns.

The colours on the Encircled website come and go by seasons, and sometimes they come up as "pre-orders." It's worth signing up for their emails if you want to keep informed not only about sales and special events, but about which colours are coming up. They had a raspberry-coloured Cardi not too long ago, while I was still just thinking about whether or not I might eventually buy one; but those sold out, and I went for the green one instead. They always have their basic, top-selling colours available (like black and grey).

The Chrysalis Cardi comes in only two sizes, Petite and Regular, although most of their other clothing is traditionally sized.[UPDATE: they now have a plus-sized version too.] Although certain online friends (and one of my daughters) have referred to me as "tiny," I am, in fact, just under the height line for Regular. I decided to go with Petite because I was concerned about droopy dresses, and that worked out fine; but if you're just sort-of-petite like me, you might try a Regular for more ease on the other stylings (like the Cocoon Cardi).

Am I happy with this? Yes, definitely, which is why I'm posting this relatively rare product review. Is it as much of a bargain as buying a couple of dresses and scarves at the thrift store? Why would I go and spend that much money on one piece of clothing? Well, as I said, I had planned to buy a special dress anyway, and I liked the style(s) of dresses that the Cardi turned into. I liked the extra possibilities of the scarf. I liked the pretty colour and soft fabric. I liked that the Encircled company is Canadian and responsible and all the rest of it. Is it worth saving up some money to support small companies, when they make good products? I think so.

Disclaimer: I was not asked to write this review, or compensated in any way for writing it. All opinions are my own.


Heather said...

This is my first time hearing about this company! Loved reading all your descriptions and the accompanying photos. I'm sure you will look lovely for your special anniversary event. xoxo

Brittany said...

Thanks so much for the kind words and lovely review!

We love that you included so many pictures, too.

Happy travels :)

Encircled Inc.

Mama Squirrel said...

Thanks, Heather and Brittany!