Leading journalist Paula Penfold shares what being ‘well-presented’ means to her

Article by Fashion Quarterly

Named Reporter of the Year at the New Zealand Television Awards, Stuff Circuit journalist Paula Penfold tells us why style is important to her.

“My style is pretty consistent: shirts, sometimes T-shirts, a suit or good pants for work; jeans, sweatshirts and trainers at the weekend; and a great dress for a big night. I like to wear beautiful clothes but I don’t want to spend an age thinking about what to wear. Most things I own go with each other, which maybe sounds kind of boring, but it makes the mornings easier.

I feel good wearing beautiful clothes, but my style has changed over the years. I buy fewer things, less that’s on-trend, pieces that are not necessarily fashionable but are, I guess, more classic. I think New Zealand designers are the best — they know Kiwi women, how we live and like to dress. Shjark, Zambesi, Carlson, Ingrid Starnes, Kate Sylvester, Ruby and Harman Grubiša are my favourites.


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I think being well presented is really important to my job as a journalist, but I try to tailor the ‘seriousness’ of what I’m wearing to the situation. If I’m interviewing a politician I’ll wear a suit, or similar. If I’m in the field, literally, obviously I won’t — looking overdressed for the setting can distract from the story.

Being on camera is part of my job, so while it’s important to look well presented, I don’t like to wear anything distracting — nothing too loud or too bold. I want people to pay attention to what we’re trying to say, not what I’m wearing.

I wear shirts a lot for work, with a suit, pants or sometimes jeans — and with this Shjark dress, which I love because it’s professional but also quite feminine.


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You can’t beat a silk blouse for the feel and the fit, but I also love a good white shirt. They make getting dressed so easy since they go with anything. This one by Maggie Marilyn with the amazing cuff detail is sublime.

For me, no two days, weeks, months or years are the same — my job and the subjects I cover are ever-changing. And I like to think that sometimes, some of what we do can contribute to making a difference. It probably sounds trite, but I love giving people a voice.”

Paula wears a Maggie Marilyn blouse, Shjark dress and Kathryn Wilson boots.
Interview: Jessica-Belle Greer
Photo: Michael James Rooke

This story originally appeared in Fashion Quarterly Issue 3, 2019