What I’m Packing For Montreal This Week | Balancing “Looking Professional” With “Culturally Appropriate”

Joya Dass
5 min readApr 30, 2023
Photo by Sarah Brown on Unsplash

This morning I headed to hot yoga in Williamsburg. I jammed my airpods into my ears to listen to my morning dose of Dr. Joe Dispenza as I walked through the rain to the bus stop. I put on the same yoga clothes. Put on the same Athleta puffer jacket. Walk to the same bus stop. Take it 25 minutes to the same yoga studio on Metropolitan Avenue. In order to fire and wire new neurons and ways of thinking, he says, we have to disrupt. It’s why I’m such an advocate of travel for both me and my clients. It automatically ejects me out of my routine. Offers a new perspective.

This week, I head to Montreal to host one of my signature 8-Women Mastermind Dinners. I’m also hosting a VIP Day intensive with one client, working on her thought leadership strategy.

For years I’ve labored over what constitutes a good balance between “comfort” and “professional” and “culturally appropriate” when #traveling. I think I might have finally dialed it in. I’m writing this as I pack this Sunday. If its of value to you, I welcome it.

The formula I consult before I pack for any trip is




I applied this rule in packing for Tuscany

Outerwear for Montreal in May


The temperature in Montreal will toggle between 57 high and 44 low. No need for my Soia & Kyo goosedown for visiting Ville-Marie in May. A long wool coat, paired with my an Etro scarf, will keep me toasty.

Workouts in every country allows me to feel like local no matter where I go


3 main buckets (dinners, strategy day with a client, yoga at my favorite Montreal studio Luna Yoga in Old Montreal). My Athleta yoga duds and NY Yankees hat go with me everywhere. Athleta makes a fabric that feels like butter against your skin. I top the outfit with this Long-Sleeve Pullover Top, good for grabbing a coffee afterwards.

Travel Day outfit that gets me from airport to dinner


While New York is a town rife with folks dressed in Loro Piana and Brunello Cuccinelli, Montreal has a decidedly more casual vibe. So I’ll toggle what I pack to match.

I’ve lamented American made pants since I was a kid. Okay puberty, when my curves started coming in. The J.Crews of the world design pants for a ‘laundry chute’ figure, devoid of any lumps or bumps. When I sauntered into Elena Miro’s boutique on Via Ruggiero Settimo in Palermo, I swear I heard angels singing. Italians know how to give ‘good pant.’ These wool grey-checked pants bless my Bengali curves and will keep me chic, warm, comfortable from airport to business dinner. Paired with a cashmere sweater from Nadaam, high ruffle collar blouse from Sandro, and a caramel colored belt and boots from Naturalizer.

Friday outfit, All day client intensive and hosting 8 Woman Mastermind Dinner

For my full day client intensive, I want to roll up my sleeves and dig into strategy with my client. This cashmere Overly Essential V Neck Sweater from Reset (Another brand find in Sicily) will keep me warm. Paired with the Meija pant from M.M.LeFleur in Sharkskin. What sold me on them? These trousers are machine-washable. I’m prone to spilling things on my clothes. I love that I can wash and re-wear on a trip if need be. Pointed flats from M.Gemi on my feet and I’ll be good to go from day to night. I can elevate the look to host the 8 Woman Mastermind Dinner in the evening with mules from Schutz and matching sparkle hoops. Since I’ll be hosting the dinner in a private home, no need to be so formal.

Saturday is an early morning flight back to New York. My Athleta sweatshirt and blue joggers get me home.


Why go to all these lengths to plan so meticulously? I forgot a strapless bra for a gown ONE TIME and swore to never make the same mistake again. It dinged my confidence. I wasn’t focused on the keynote I was giving. Packing this meticulously allows me to account for every detail in advance, avoid the decision fatigue the morning of. With this process, I get to ‘set it and forget it.’ I can focus on the thing I travelled so many miles to do.

Over the last 10 years, I’ve built a business mastermind for women.

👉🏽I drive programming with an element of adventure.

👉🏽I help both corporate women and business owners tell better stories about themselves

👉🏽I push women outside their comfort zone

💪🏼 My portfolio

I am the founder and CEO of the Women’s Leadership Lab, a 12 month business mastermind with a goal to build a powerful personal brand, culminating in a Tedx style talk on a NYC stage.

👉🏽I work with women seeking a promotion to the C Suite

👉🏽I work with business owners who need to tell better stories to get clients

👉🏽I work with women to pitch to investors

👉🏽I work with former executives launching consultancies

👉🏽I work with artists looking to command a higher price point in the market, by telling better stories

👉🏽I help women land their TedTalk

💥 My results

👉🏽1 Got the job with a 15% pay bump

👉🏽1 got the promotion to the C Suite with a 10% pay bump

👉🏽1 built a $50MM real estate fund

👉🏽1 said ‘yes’ to live television interviews

👉🏽1 got her first check for her startup from the community

👉🏽1 went from commanding $500 to $5000 for her art

How you can work with me.

🔵 12 Month Mastermind. Apply here.

� �VIP days. New York. Florence. Istanbul. Paris. Barcelona. Itinerary’s available

🔵 If you want to learn more about how I built my personal brand, you can download my 8 steps here


Go here: https://joyadass.lpages.co/how-to-build-a-powerful-personal-brand-and-how-i-did-it/



Joya Dass

If you have a goal and want the steps to make it your reality, I have a solution. www.joyadass.com