In the 1960s, blues-inspired rocker Janis Joplin shook up the music world with her brazen, one-of-a-kind vocals and her eccentric personal style. Joplin expressed her emotions through her ensembles, wearing flashy spangles and feathers on stage, along with leather, fur and vibrant, wild prints in her off-stage wardrobe. A revolutionary dresser starting at age 14, Janis emerged as a leader in Haight-Ashbury hippie fashion trends -- a style that has evolved into bohemian and boho chic styles.
Joplin’s untamed locks were a signature part of her “Who cares, man?” style. In contrast to the mile-high bouffant beehives worn by many in the '60s, Janis left her long brown locks wild and unstyled. Occasionally, she adorned her rebellious head with flowers, beads, fur hats and even feather boas, such as those she wore on "The Dick Cavett Show" in 1970. Boas may be too over-the-top for everyday wear, so capture Joplin’s style with floral or feathered barrettes, or a tie-dyed fabric scarf or bandana.
When it came to cosmetics, Janis often went without, preferring the natural look as many hippies did. While there are some photos of her wearing subtle eyeliner, most are makeup free. Joplin’s “be you” attitude gives emulators permission to indulge in any cosmetics that feels right. However, to truly capture her essence, stick to a barely there foundation, nude lipsticks or glosses, and just a hint of eye shadow and liner.
Whether you’re dressing up as Janis for a costume party or simply incorporating the essence of her psychedelic fashion sense into your own personal style, adopt a wear-what-you-feel attitude when assembling your ensembles. Her style ran the gamut, including glittery gold lame, plush velvets, rugged leather, vintage lace and full-on fur coats. Janis was a fan of secondhand fashions, often wearing thrift store ensembles or outrageous outfits she handmade herself featuring crazy colors and prints. Often photographed in peasant blouses and bell bottoms, the singer was also a fan of skirts and dresses. Mimic her iconic style with a richly hued wardrobe of wide-legged pants; full, flowing skirts; loose sundresses; baggy blouses; and string vests adorned with beads and fringe.
Often barefoot on stage, Janis favored sandals and boots when she had to wear shoes. Although stilettos are off the table for a Joplin-inspired ensemble, consider beaded ballerina flats, shiny silver gladiator sandals or floral-embroidered platform clogs. She even added a pair of old-fashioned granny boots with buttons up the front, which she paired with outlandish dresses.
Outta Sight Accessories
Janis' most iconic fashion statement may have been her trademark purple-tinted sunglasses in their perfectly circular frames. Now known as “hippie glasses,” they come in a variety of shades and sizes, including the larger lenses she favored. Beyond eyewear, Janis loaded on the jewelry, layering long, beaded necklaces and lots of thin bangles on her wrists. She wore a number of rings, as well, that flashed as she played her autoharp. Opt for metal rings sculpted into flowers or tribal bands, and polished but uncut stones, such as turquoise or amber.
A former art instructor, high school counselor and party planner, Christine Bartsch writes fashion, travel, interior design, education and entertainment content. Bartsch earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in communications/psychology/fine arts from Wisconsin Lutheran College and a creative writing Master of Fine Arts from Spalding University. She's written scripts for film/television productions and worked as the senior writer at a video game company.