The Tale Of Petronella Stofberg & Jacob Stofman



If you’re looking to refresh your wardrobe, then London-based Petronella Stofberg is the woman you need to speak to...

The glamorous co-founder of Wardrobe Icons, a website dedicated to fashion’s most timeless essentials, knows a thing or two about how to create the ultimate capsule wardrobe. The philosophy behind the business is simple, but it’s genius: in a world saturated by websites that tell you what’s in fashion, they tell you what never goes out of fashion. They favour forever-pieces over quick-fix fashion and grown up style that you stay in love with, season after season.

So basically, if you’re a time poor mother, this is your new shopping destination. It’s perfect if you don’t have the patience or energy to trawl through the shops (or online) looking for the most flattering denim jeans or the best T-shirts. They do it all for you. Repeat: pure genius. We caught up with the stylish mother to Jacob, 3 years, at her beautiful London home to talk about her wardrobe essentials (hello Aquazzura super flats and heels, Equipment silk shirts and Boden Breton stripe T-shirts) and how she juggles motherhood with building a business…

Photography: Lauren Michelle


Motherhood has taught me a lot about myself, for instance that I am less flexible than I thought, but tougher and stronger too…

Also that raising a child is the single most challenging thing I have ever done, but also the most rewarding, and that everything gets easier with time. Oh and that I should have been much, much nicer to my mother.


The advice I’d give my younger self is…

Don’t feel so guilty being a little reckless from time to time, enjoy traveling alone in any mode of transport and be nice to your mum!


I worked in magazines before as a fashion assistant and then as a stylist…

At Happy, a magazine that sadly no longer exists and my first job, I met Laura and we became friends. Years later we got married around the same time and our husbands became friends. But I think it really became a partnership when we both had babies a few months apart and had the same experience (which was that we found it really tough). We spent a lot of our maternity leave together talking about anything and everything. One day Laura confessed that she’d had an the idea to start a website dedicated to essentials for a while, but didn’t want to go at it alone. She felt she already did Wearing It Today solo so wanted to embark this project with someone else. I jumped at the chance, already realising I wasn’t going to return to my old job, and relished the chance to be a founder of something exciting and a concept I believed in. This is how Wardrobe Icons was born. Then it took many months of perseverance, tears and sweat and we finally launched in October 2015.


Unlike most people in the fashion industry, I didn’t develop a taste for fashion until later in my life…

I always enjoyed reading magazines but I was never fashion obsessed. It wasn’t until I did work experience at a fashion PR agency at 16 that I realised how much I enjoyed working with clothes. Even hanging them up gave me a thrill.


Before Jacob was born, I didn’t have the confidence to go out and do anything on my own steam…

I have a bit of a herd instinct, but after having him I realised I was more capable than I gave myself credit for. I also realised the time that I spent not with Jacob had to be doing something worthwhile, that was important to me. I didn’t want to do something just do something that kept me busy. I also started working for my family and to fit everything in, I required two jobs that had very flexible working hours.


I think the whole balance thing, in my life at least, is more swings and roundabouts…

Sometimes work requires more of me, and my family or home life take a bit of a backseat. While there are other occasions where I need to dedicate more time to my family and work needs to not be a priority. I am also incredibly lucky that I can afford help in terms of a nanny and a cleaner so I don’t spend all my free time washing up or doing 20 loads of washing. I can actually spend it hanging out with Jacob. This puts me in an incredibly lucky position to feel like I have balance, but I do realise it’s an incredible privilege.


Working from home makes such a difference and is what makes having my own business so fantastic…

Don’t get me wrong it can be challenging when Jacob is demanding my attention and I have to focus on him first rather than get straight on that pile of work. However being able to have breakfast with him or lunch, and just being around generally makes me feel more present as a parent.


The most challenging part of running your own business is being everything from HR to IT support…

Also knowing what is best for the future of your business and not expanding too quickly but not going too slowly that you implode either.


In beauty bag you’ll find…

Erborian CC cream – I swear by it. Charlotte Tilbury Magic Cream and film star glow bronzer are two new favourites I can’t live without. I am also a big Bobbi Brown fan – I love their matt lipsticks, art sticks and brow gel. Lastly I always wear Chantecaille liquid eyeliner and mascara for great eye definition.


My wardrobe essentials are…

Aquazzura super flats and heels. I love my delicate necklaces by Missoma, Monica Vinader and Sophie by Sophie. Clothes wise it’s all about Equipment silk shirts, J Crew denim, Eileen Fisher cashmere, Boden Breton stripe T-shirt, any Chanel shoes, tailored cashmere coats. My ultimate ‘Wardrobe Icon’ is my Celine mini luggage bag in grey.


I have always loved interiors…

When we bought this house it needed a complete overhaul and by the time we got the keys I was already pregnant with Jacob. Luckily for me Laura’s husband became our architect and he helped me to source many pieces like our kitchen tiles, which are reclaimed floor tiles from Sicily, and steered me clear of any bad ideas of which I had many! I like to think we renovated sympathetically to the period of the house so nothing stands out at being new even though everything is. At the same time I wanted it to feel fresh and light with calm shades of blue, green and grey.


Petro in five minutes::

Coffee or tea? Coffee.
Typical breakfast: Marmite on toast.
On your bedside table you’ll find: A picture of our wedding day, my jewellery in a ceramic bee tray and a book I haven’t opened.
Exercise of choice: Reformer Pilates.
Book: I finished Girl on a Train (I read it in two days it was so good).
Heels or flats? Both although I wear flats a lot more than heels.
Pram: Bugaboo Bee.
Baby bag: I just bought a nice black canvas mans tote with lots of pockets.
Sunglasses: Fendi or Laura Imani eyewear.
Tidy or messy: Tidy on the surface and really messy drawers.
Dream travel destination: French Polynesian Islands or Chile.


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