Whether your baggage of choice is a rolling suitcase, a trusty backpack or a steamer trunk, you’ve surely encountered space constraints somewhere along the line. One of the biggest problems with travelling is how to prepare yourself for all of the different situations you encounter on the road. This is an annoyance for many travellers, but for me more than most. I have a tendency to be overly ambitious in my trip planning, moving from urban nights to rural campsites and back again on a trip.
With airlines increasingly charging extortionate fees for extra bags, I am always looking for versatile items that minimize how much luggage I carry and ward off the evil eye from my light-packing boyfriend. One such item is the Chrysalis Cardi by Encircled. I recently brought the Cardi on a trip with me to Utah, Wyoming and Colorado and also tested it closer to home. It is, in a sense, misnamed. It is much more than a sweater; it can pass as a jacket, shawl or scarf too.
This is a deceptively simple garment: a loop of material with snaps sewn in strategic places. Rearranging the fasteners transforms the Cardi from a dress to a poncho, or even a blanket to keep you warm(ish) on over-air conditioned flights and bus rides. As a bonus, it even doubles as a picnic blanket in a pinch.
It may seem a bit daft to spend $138 on a circle of fabric with strategically placed buttons, but this is a piece that adds a level of style and versatility that justifies it. It’s also Canadian-made from minimally processed Beechwood fibers. In the end, the ability to look good in the same piece from campfire to cafe terrace to nightclub keeps me coming back.
If you are intimidated by the thought of creating your own look, Chrysalis has instructional videos and instructions for eight standard styles. The Cardi is a one size fits all garment, and in practice, this meant a few of the standard arrangements didn’t work on my tall slight frame, but the beauty with this piece is a little bit of creativity you can make your own styles, and design creating body hugging fits that are flattering to your shape. And beyond that, you can buy it as a gift for someone, and not have to worry about whether the size you picked will offend the receiver.