I’m literally typing this from the airport, where I’m dressed head to toe in a new travel brand I’m obsessed with called Encircled.
I used to joke to my friends that there was a reason I wasn’t a fashion blogger and it started with swea- and ended with -tpants. I rarely discuss style on Alex in Wanderland, and this is in fact the first clothing company I’ve ever extensively featured. It was worth the wait.
Well, I’m still not a fashion blogger, but I am a girl that loves to wander, geeks out over sustainability, and has finally nailed the perfect outfits to wear for those long travel days when you’re headed to the airport, the train station, or the driver’s seat.
Encircled’s mission is creating clothes that allow you to travel light without sacrificing style — or sustainability. More on that in the second half of this post. For now, here’s what I’ve been wearing lately…
1. …for quick domestic travel days
Leggings and a long top has always kind of been my default travel outfit. I never wear jeans on a plane, train or bus, even for short hops. I just have to be comfortable — but I don’t want to sacrifice being cute!
Enter Encircled. Try the Minimalist Leggings on and I warn you — you’ll never go back. They’re soft, they’re slimming, and most importantly, they have a perfect wide waistband that won’t pinch or pull you anywhere. They’re so flattering! How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
• I love the higher waistband, but you can also fold them over if you’re a low-rise kind of girl.
• These are also the rare leggings that can double as everyday wear or workout pants in a pinch, if you’re traveling super light (typically I prefer to keep them separate for laundry reasons).
• Long-legged ladies, these babies are perfect for you. If you’re a shortie like me, you might consider the Minimalist Crop Leggings, which on someone of my height are probably going to be full-length.
• I am not a size zero, and I love that I never have to worry about these leggings being see through.
On that last note, I prefer to pair leggings with a top that covers my bum — and that’s where the Wanderer Sleeveless T comes in. Bonus note on this top — it’s perfect for countries where you need to be a bit conservative. High neck, not too form fitting if you size up, and still super flattering. Toss a scarf over those shoulders and bam! Bottom line? I love this top so much I’ve already signed up to be alerted when the three pack is back in stock.
The best part of this travel outfit? I can really dress this top up upon landing. Toss those Tieks back in my bag and pull out a pair of wedges and a big statement necklace and I’m ready to rock. As I slowly attempt to recover from my overpacking addiction and travel a little lighter, outfits that can go from airport-casual to going-out-chic are essential!
Ideally, if I’m on a trip where I’m bringing boots or chunky wedges, I like to save space in my bag and wear those on the plane (wedges are a no-go if I have a tight connection and might end up running through the airport, though!)
2. …heading from baggage claim to a bar
Lately I’ve had a ton of flights where I’m getting off the plane and going directly to meet someone, make a dinner reservation, or some situation that involves dressing up. I used to kind of loathe this because I couldn’t find the balance of dressy and comfort, but these days I embrace it. Thanks in large part to The Reversible Pencil Skirt, which allows me to pack a navy blue and a black skirt in one.
I rarely wear shorts these days — they just no longer feel very flattering to my current body. So suffice it to say, I pack a lot of skirts. And I love that this is two in one! You can even flip down the top of the skirt for a color block look. With tights, you could really bring it into all seasons.
3. …for the super long haul flights
For transcontinental flights, I basically want to wear my pajamas in public but also look fly enough that I wouldn’t cry if I ran into an ex in an airport (which has basically happened to me — what is my life). Not an easy task, but The Dressy Sweatpant is up to the task. Of all my Encircled finds, these are my new obsession and I’m already considering a pair in black as well. I literally can’t stop wearing them.
So my funny story with these is that I actually bought this pair of cheap black harem pants (or as I call them, MC Hammer pants) off the street in Thailand — the fast fashion addiction is hard to break! They were super comfortable and I loved the look from the hips down but basically looked like a bulky diaper around the waist. They were definitely a source of amusement around my friends — I could not wear them in public, though putting them on was the first thing I did whenever I walked in the door home. Because they were so cheaply made, they were falling apart within months.
So can you even imagine my excitement when I realized someone had designed a (seriously) upgraded version that I could actually wear in public and love forever? I literally can’t imagine traveling without these ever again.
The dressy sweatpant is my go-to for travel days when I need maximum comfort but don’t want to be caught looking like a slob. You’re treated better at airports when you don’t look like you spent the night in the terminal – and while random upgrades are rarer and rarer these days, you’re probably not going to get one wearing pajama pants.
Once you’ve arrived, these babies are perfect for pairing with flats or tennis shoes and a t-shirt — this is how I wear them the most, and always receive a ton of compliments on. They’re also perfect for dressing down for yin yoga, or dressing up for a swanky dinner. You can also push up the bottoms to make into a cropped look, which I haven’t tried yet — but would love to for making this into a dressier look with wedges.
One final bonus that makes these babies perfect for travel? A hidden invisible zipper pocket in the back waistband, perfect for hiding a room key, your credit cards, or a stash of emergency cash.
I have truly struggled to adapt to the idea of investing in clothes. I’ve always been a frugal and simple girl and prided myself on sourcing my wardrobe from affordable retailers like H&M or Target. I was always proud of living in hand-me-downs from my friends and cousins! However, as the years go on and I become a more conscious consumer, I’ve started to slowly accept that when I buy something “cheap,” the cost of my $8.99 miniskirt is being passed on in some way to someone or something less fortunate than I — either our planet or the person who manufactured it. And when it goes out of style or pills and looks awful after a few months? Chances are, it’s ending up in a landfill.
As I’ve started thinking of my purchases overall as an investment in the future of the planet and the people on it, that made it easier to start shifting my mindset. I still won’t hand over my credit card if I think an item is marked up just because it’s got a certain logo on the label. But if I know it’s priced fairly because it was made using earth-friendly materials and created by people who were paid a fair wage for their labor? I feel excited to be a part of that. It’s a slow journey and I’m far from perfect, but I’m always working towards living ever more sustainably and shopping ever more consciously.
I want to focus on quality over quantity — and I’m trying to be accountable to all of you by writing about it here. It’s going to be a slow process (my biggest struggle will be curbing my tendency to go crazy on festival gear and costumes — I love dress up!) but I do want to work on breaking my addiction to fast fashion and focus on slowly upgrading to the classics, all while being mindful of where my old belongings end up when I downsize. These Encircled are pieces that I already know will be with me for years — I’ve been completely obsessed since they first landed in my suitcase!
Wear Good, Feel Good
Did you know the fashion industry is the world’s second largest industrial carbon emission producer, after oil? And that 25% of chemicals produced worldwide are used for textiles? Did you know the fashion industry is the second biggest polluter of freshwater resources on the planet?
Yikes! Encircled has managed to manufacture not only the softest clothing I have ever owned but also probably the most environmentally friendly. They use completely chemical-free dyes on biodegradable fabrics like Tencel, which is 50% more breathable than cotton — great for conservative countries where you need to cover up and keep cool, bamboo rayon, the most eco-friendly fabric on the planet, and modal, an absolute magical fabric derived from a renewable source that is the softest I’ve ever felt. (Read more about Encircled’s fabrics, if you’re into that kinda thing!) All these fabrics are created with no wastewater dumped into the environment in what is called a ‘closed loop process.’ Several of them are knit and dyed right in Toronto. And Encircled works overtime to reduce fabric waste, using the cuttings from production to create headbands, leg warmers, and hair ties.
Encircled is all about buying better, and traveling and living lighter. They design mindfully and produce ethically. When I nab a pair of these leggings, I’m not just adding a pair of the softest pants you’ve ever owned to your wardrobe. I’m supporting sustainably-made, sweatshop-free production and supporting a fellow female entrepreneur. No buyer’s remorse here.
Thinking of checking out a few Encircled pieces for yourself? If you’re in Toronto, you can actually make an in-person shopping appointment at their studio! If not, their online sizing guides are detailed, and the online reviews for each product are gushing and numerous — tons of happy customers have left their heights and weights along with the sizes they settled on, which can be super helpful if you’re waffling on which to buy.
But regardless of where you are in the world, you now have the chance to win a $300 shopping spree!
What do you wear on travel days? Tell me in the comments!
This post was brought to you by Encircled. As usual, I maintain full editorial control and as always all thoughts, opinions, and musings on flight upgrades are my own. I am proud to partner with brands that share Alex in Wanderland values.