Fashion Face-Off: New York vs. Los Angeles

Canyon Coffee founder and model Ally Walsh shows off her East to West Coast style transformation.

Ally Walsh

(Image credit: Harper Smith)

When Ally Walsh walks down the street, there's no doubt that she's a California girl. Her sun-kissed skin and beach-y waves are two giveaways, but her laid-back style and easy approach to life cinch it.

As a model and co-founder of Los Angeles-based Canyon Coffee, (opens in new tab) 29-year old Walsh is a bonafide Cali-phile. She moved to the sunny state more than five years ago, leaving her native New York and a mostly all-black wardrobe behind. "I always loved California," she confessed to us from her light-filled Santa Monicao bungalow. "As a kid when I visited with my family on vacations, I felt that this was where I wanted to be. I loved the lifestyle, the beach, the sunny weather, and, later, the opportunities."

Walsh was raised in Long Island, New York, and her love of fashion was born early on, thanks to her mom's job as a theater actress and the vibrance of New York City. Walsh enrolled at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York, focusing on advertising and business. When a modeling agency came calling, Walsh left school to pursue her passion full-time.

In 2009, she made the move to Los Angeles to advance her modeling career—and to finally live in her favorite part of the country. Now with her boyfriend Casey Wojtalewicz, she also runs Canyon Coffee, a certified-organic (and beautifully packaged) coffee company popping up on cool lifestyle blogs everywhere.

Walsh's lifestyle and personal style changed significantly when she moved from the East to West Coast. Gone were the black leather jackets, heels, and structured handbags. In their place were flow-y summer dresses and lived-in T-shirts. Here's a look at Walsh's style now in L.A. and how it's changed since her move from New York (plus, her go-to steps for pour-over coffee, Canyon style).

Ally Walsh

(Image credit: Harper Smith)


Back in New York, brunch and breakfast meetings meant heels and a sturdy black bag, plus a denim jacket for a little polish. Now, Walsh starts each morning with a cup of pour-over Canyon Coffee and breakfast on her porch. Although she works in coffee, all-white jeans and a T-shirt is her uniform.

From left: Sunspel T-shirt, $90,; (opens in new tab) Vince pants, $295, (opens in new tab); Vince loafers, $295, (opens in new tab); Levi's denim jacket, $60, (opens in new tab); Michael Kors bag and heels, similar at (opens in new tab)

Ally Walsh

(Image credit: Harper Smith)


Walsh's days were spent running around New York to castings. Her model uniform was high waisted pants with a slight flare and a gray T-shirt. Sturdy shoes were a necessity, along with a backpack to keep her modeling cards. In L.A., she keeps the pants but swaps in a white ruffled shirt. It's an easy—and subtly elegant— piece, and looks polished enough for meetings with stores or castings.

From left: J.Crew top, $80, (opens in new tab); Tory Burch pants, similar at (opens in new tab); Lotuff backpack, $640, (opens in new tab); Salt sunglasses, (opens in new tab); Vince Camuto heels, similar at (opens in new tab); Halogen T-shirt, $30, (opens in new tab)

Ally Walsh

(Image credit: Harper Smith)


Back in New York, happy hour meant anything from downtown dives to uptown hotel bars. Walsh's go-to outfit? "Black jeans, boots and leather jacket," she says. A few extra pieces of jewelry and a clutch helped add some glamour to the look. In California, Walsh favors a printed dress and low heels for a night out at her favorite bar, Chez Tex.

From left: Kate Spade dress, $350, (opens in new tab); Ted Baker leather jacket, $595, (opens in new tab); Lagos jewelry, (opens in new tab)

Ally Walsh

(Image credit: Harper Smith)


When she lived in New York, Walsh's special event staple was the same as everyone else's: a little black dress. Strappy black heels, a metallic clutch and gold jewelry were other must-haves. Now, Walsh opts for a simple silk slip dress and beach-y waves, like her style icon, Georgia O'Keeffe. "We have a framed photograph of her in the desert," she says. "I love how at ease and comfortable she seems in a dark dress in nature. I'm really drawn to that minimal, neutral, and simple style."

From left: Theory dress, $375, (opens in new tab); Ursa Major earrings, $275,; Eliza J dress, $150, (opens in new tab); Tibi heels, (opens in new tab)

Ally Walsh

Canyon Coffee

(Image credit: Harper Smith)

How to Make Canyon Coffee

Here's her step-by-step guide to brewing coffee for two, using a V-60 pour-over dripper:

1. Fill kettle and bring it a boil. Let it sit after boiling to cool to around 200° Fahrenheit. (Walsh's kettle allows her to set the boiling temperature, but just before boiling on a regular kettle is fine.) "Water that's too hot will produce a bitter-tasting coffee," she says.

2. Place a filter in the dripper, and add a little bit of water from the kettle. This pre-heats the filter and the pot to help the coffee stay warmer longer.

3. Grind 5 tablespoons of Canyon Coffee beans, preferably in a burr grinder, so they're medium-ground (between coarse and fine).

4. Add coffee to filter. Make a small depression in the center.

5. Starting in the middle and circling clockwise, pour just enough water to get all the grounds wet.

6. Once all the grounds are wet, wait 30 seconds and watch as the beans "bloom."

7. Slowly pour two-and-a-half cups (around 20 oz.) water over grounds in a circular motion.

Styling by Rachael Wang, Hair and Makeup by Stephanie Nicole Smith, Prop styling by Lizzie Lang

Special thanks to Chez Tex. (opens in new tab)