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(Not sure if this should be on the Literature SE)

From the novel Anne of Green Gables, Anne wears a hat with flowers in it to church, and is criticized by her neighbour and adoptive parents for it:

It was not until the next Friday that Marilla heard the story of the flower-wreathed hat. She came home from Mrs. Lynde’s and called Anne to account.

“Anne, Mrs. Rachel says you went to church last Sunday with your hat rigged out ridiculous with roses and buttercups. What on earth put you up to such a caper? A pretty-looking object you must have been!”

“Oh, I know pink and yellow aren’t becoming to me,” began Anne.

“Becoming fiddlesticks! It was putting flowers on your hat at all, no matter what colour they were, that was ridiculous. You are the most aggravating child!”

This is weird to me, since I can easily imagine someone doing this in the modern world without getting much comment, in fact there are vendors selling exactly these kind of hats.

Was it inappropriate to wear flowers in a hat to church in 19th century Canada? I tried Googling for it but can't tell what the appropriate search terms are (they're clearly not "flowers church hats" which led to the vendor's link above).

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  • I looked it up, and the most likely denomination for a PEI resident would probably have been Presbyterian. Do the books make this clear?
    – T.E.D.
    Commented Jul 7, 2022 at 15:21
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    The context was being in a church, and there's a legit relationship between denominations and culture. Calvinists and Quakers in particular traditionally have frowned on bright colors and ostentatious dress.
    – T.E.D.
    Commented Jul 8, 2022 at 13:57
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    Interesting question. As @T.E.D. said, the author's denomination was Presbyterian. If you decide to bring this question to Christianity.SE, one way to frame it to make it acceptable is to ask from the point of view of 19th century Canadian Presbyterian teaching, since it has to be connected with a theology or a church practice question. Commented Jul 8, 2022 at 15:50
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    When I read this book, my impression was that it wasn't just "wearing flowers" but going way overboard and wearing heaps and heaps of flowers in a way that clearly demonstrated a lack of perspective. Anne frequently engages in obsessive and extreme behavior that goes right along with this. My father's family is from a similar cultural background as the author (rural Scottish Presbyterian, but not from PEI specifically), and I can confirm that there are no specific sartorial prescriptions, but there is a general rule against showoffishness and obsessive and extreme displays of vanity.
    – Robert Columbia
    Commented Jul 12, 2022 at 21:13
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    @T.E.D. There is a reference in the book to paraphrase 19, which is Presbyterian.
    – davidlol
    Commented Jul 24, 2022 at 4:12

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