Create A Kim Wilde 80s Costume

Items needed for a Kim Wilde 80s costume. Black and white striped top, black open blazer, wig

By Hannah Johnson

During her early pop career, Kim Wilde became renowned for wearing striped tops, sometimes with an open blazer. The two colours that she wore the most often were black and white and red and white , mostly around 1981 and 1982. In this post, I'm going to show you how to create her early 80s "Kids in America" look.

You can see Kim wearing a Dennis the Menace style black and red top in a live performance of "View From A Bridge" in 1982. She also wore a black and white striped, sleeveless top in the video for her debut single "Kids in America". Apparently, Kim borrowed the top from a friend who had bought it in a charity shop.

Creating a Kim Wilde costume is ideal for retro events and festivals such as Rewind, or an 80s costume party . For the top, you need to look for something that is cut quite high across the neckline. Finding a suitable striped top for women has proved to be tougher than expected, so there will have to be some smallcompromises to get the look we want.

Black and White Striped Top

The black and white top that Kim wore during 1981 and 1982 was actually a shiny tank top and with a high neckline and white buttons, but finding an exact replica has been impossible, so we will have to settle for a T-shirt, which will be partially hidden under a jacket anyway. Here are my top choices of items needed to create her 80s fashion style...

Black Open Blazer

Kim wore a plainblack open blazer over the top of her striped top in her "Kids in America" video and some promotional photos, and also for her 1981 Top Of The Pops performance.


Finding a suitable wig in Kim's hair style was not easy, and the only specific Kim Wilde wig is sold by Struts directly on their website, which I have linked to in the product image link above. 

Although a little long, this wig could be teased into a Kim Wilde punkesque style with a little ruffling up on top. You may want to cut and thin out the length of if you're feeling brave!

Skinny Jeans

The top should be tucked into a pair of skinny black or light to medium blue denim jeans. Jeans were definitely tight in the early 80s. If you already have a pair to hand, then your costume is complete.

I've picked out this pair of low-cost jeans by Only, which are sold and shipped directly from

Kim Wilde on Top Of The Pops wearing a black, open blazer and black and white striped top underneath

This still is from Kim's Top Of The Pop performance of "Kids in America" in 1981. Kim's top actually had white buttons, but can't be seen under the jacket. She wore this with tight, medium blue denim jeans.

Red and Black Striped Top

Kim Wilde wearing a red and black striped top, with three quarter length sleeves (1981)

The red and black striped top was also iconic, and there are plenty of photos online showing Kim wearing such a top with 3/4 (three quarter) length sleeves.

I managed to find this ladies T-shirt by Allegra K, which has 3/4 length sleeves (Just like Kim's). However, it is red and dark blue, rather than black, and a little expensive. Allegra K also have a black and white striped top in the same style.

My top choice is this unisex, long-sleeved top by Deevan, which is very reanonably priced and available in three sizes. The sleeves are not 3/4 length, but can be rolled up inwards. If worn under a blazer, then nobody is going to notice anyway!

This red and black striped T-shirt for adults by Rock Star Academy is available for a decent price, and is highly rated by customers. However, it is not a ladies tee and only available in a small size for some reason.

It's interesting that during my search I soon discovered that this design is associated with very bad people, including Dennis The Menace and Freddy Kreuger!

Now, to ensure that people don't confuse your Kim Wilde look with either of those two horrors, you should definitely add the blazer and a wig.

Just add a pair of tight black skinny jeans to complete your look.

So there you have it, all the items you need to create a 1980s Kim Wilde costume.

Not sure about creating this outfit? You can see many more 1980s costume ideas for ladies right here on Simply Eighties.