CIRCLE OF LIFE

Summer is nearly hear which means vacation season will soon be in full swing. Traveling should be fun and exciting, but as we all know, these days it can also be stressful. Between shrinking leg room to extra baggage fees, flying in particular isn't as joyful as it used to be. One way to avoid headaches on your next big trip is by packing lighter, which is exactly what Kristi Soomer was thinking when she launched clothing brand Encircled. Kristi was a retail management professional who traveled extensively for work, as well as play. One day, she was packing for a yoga retreat and while stuffing her suitcase, it broke. Her replacement bag was much smaller, which forced her to cut back on clothing. It turned into a wake-up call, because as she re-packed, she realized that if she brought fewer items -- versatile pieces that worked double or triple-duty -- traveling would be easier. She could dash through airports and on/off planes without checking-in her luggage (or ending up sore from schlepping it!).

Inspired, she dreamt-up Encircled's first piece, the Chrysalis Cardi, a fluid, jersey cardigan that be worn 8 different ways. That was in 2012 and today, Encircled has expanded to included a dozen styles, all of which are convertible. Leggings and pencil skirts are reversible. The Kimono Dress can be zipped up and worn alone, or worn open over pants as a jacket. The Evolve top transforms from cap-sleeve, cowl neck blouse to boat-neck tunic to scarf with just a few twists. Along with her minimalist mindset, Kristi is also environmentally conscious, so all garments are made locally in small batches in Canada and are crafted from sustainable fabrics like Modal, Tencel, and bamboo. Encircled styles are also timeless in their appearance (Kristi is a fan of Donna Karan, and you can definitely see the influence), and made to last. So the only reason you'll need to buy another piece is if you just have to have that new color, not because you need to replace one that wore out.

Video and top image via Encircled.co