home Build Your Own, Costume Ideas How to Dress Up Like Janis Joplin

How to Dress Up Like Janis Joplin

I’ll go ahead and admit up front that until recently, I only knew about Janis Joplin in theory. I knew she was a musician in the 60’s who died young, and of course I’d heard “Me and Bobby McGee” on the radio a few times.

But the other day I was working on the page for our Janis Sunglasses and decided I needed some more information about Janis herself to find the appropriate related items. That led to a Googling fest. I became a bit fascinated with her iconic look – oversize round glasses such as the ones linked above, long wavy brown hair that she often wore wild and accented with bright feathers, crocheted vests, beads, jeans. Basically, the classic “hippie” look but with an extra spark of fun.

Then I went and downloaded her greatest hits album and became all the more enamored. I’ve been listening to it on repeat for days and will clearly need to branch out into her other music soon.

Meanwhile, I decided to write a post for my fellow Janis Joplin devotees (however recently we’ve been converted) to help you figure out how to put together a Janis Joplin costume for Halloween or a 60s and 70s party.

First, obviously – the glasses. We have the aforementioned Janis Sunglasses in Smoke, Yellow/Orange, and Purple. If you want to go bigger, try our Flower Child Sunglasses in pink or purple. Our Round Lennon Sunglasses would also work well, if you want more color options. Those come in blue/pink, yellow/purple, pink, rose, green, pink, blue, green, yellow, purple, orange/yellow or solid dark.

Next, the hair. If you’ve already got wavy brown hair, you’re set already! If not, our Unisex Brown Hippie Wig is the most Joplinesque to me, or we have this Long Brown Hippie Wig. This Pirate Wench Wig also captures the free spirit look. She often added feathers or feather boas to her hair, too. Try our Feather Boa, which comes in many different colors.

Next, the jeans. The campus newspaper at Janis’s college reported at the time that she wore Levi’s to class, which was apparently a bit scandalous during the prim early 60’s in Texas. Try some beat-up flares, pinstriped hiphuggers, red cords (like the ones she’s sporting in the pic on this awesome blog post about Janis Joplin’s fashion sense), black jeans (which she often wore on stage – maybe try our Women’s Black Bell Bottoms), satin pants, velvet pants, or anything patchwork. Maybe even sew a few fabric scrap patches on some old jeans, or find something at the thrift store. Janis herself was a big fan of thrift store shopping!

Next, the top. Janis favored thrifted tank tops, T-shirts and men’s button downs in her casual life, but she liked to go over the top with luxe fabrics, furs and spangles on stage. I’ve seen several photos of her at different times wearing a long-sleeved shirt, crocheted vest, and jeans, so that’s probably the most recognizable Janis look. If you don’t have something in the closet, this Adult Groovy Hippie Woman Costume (which includes shirt, fringed vest and headband) would do nicely or this Women’s Hippie Vest over a shirt of your own. This purple velvet hippie dress and hat also have a very Janis flare.

Next, jewelry. In almost every picture, Janis is wearing at least a couple strings of beads. Try these Peace Sign Hippie Beads or a Mushroom Bead Necklace. Or there is always lots of bead costume jewelry at yard sales and thrift stores. She was known for piling on lots of jewelry – necklaces, rings, bracelets, earrings, so feel free to overdo it!

Finally, shoes. Janis mostly wore sandals or boots. You could get creative with the shoes in your own closet, or try these Women’s Hippie Moccasin Shoe Covers.

Now you’re all set and ready for the party! Have fun!

Edited to add:

My 3-year-old and I decided to take our own advice and dress up as Janis today at the warehouse!



Ruby is wearing Peace Sign Hippie BeadsRound Lennon Sunglasses in Pink, Toddler/Child Hippie Boy Costume, and Hippie Headband.

I’m wearing Women’s Hippie Vest (over a denim shirt of my own from Old Navy), Hippie Headband (with feather stuck in), Janis Sunglasses in Purple, and Neon Peace Necklace Trio (well, two of them).



Kristin is the web manager for CandyAppleCostumes.com. She is also a writer, wife, and mother of two girls, who she is teaching to love costumes just as much as she does!

One thought on “How to Dress Up Like Janis Joplin

  1. Enjoyed the blog and picture. I learned a lot about Janis that I did not know and I came from her time.

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