E. Cobham Brewer 18101897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.
In ancient Greece to say a woman wore flowered robes was to imply that she was a fille publique. Solon made it a law that virtuous women should appear in simple and modest apparel, but that harlots should always dress in flashy or flowered robes.
As fugitive slaves are known by their stigmata, so flowered garments indicate one of the demi-monde [o&alpha:].Clemens of Alexandria.