This tendency manifests itself as her and her co-cannibals being eager to impose punitive dress codes on the younger generation of girls so as to neutralize them as threats to her marriage. (The fact that said young girls would sooner drink gasoline than service John Patterson is not one she would voluntarily face because if they don't want to steal the boorish goober she landed, there's obviously something wrong with them.) She justifies this to herself by saying that she had to obey her mother's strict rules and she survived so stop dancing like a floozy, Martian, and let your loving mother jabber in rage the instant you try to skirt around the edges of her arbitrary rules. What she is at pains to avoid admitting is that she thinks that she was a braver, more forthright person than she actually was.
Now, I like to rattle on about how conformist the Patterson children are now and how the least deviation from respectability drives Elly crazy. This is because she fears that her mother will materialize out of the shadows and take her to task for what an awful person she is. This is because she probably did what she always did growing up: take a random comment from her mother about how tasteless and stupid the plastic flower child look is and let her fear of being tossed aside for the newer, more pliable model run away with her. I just betcha Marian passed on not ever realizing that when she shuddered in mild disgust at Elly's love beads, she really meant something apocalyptic. Simply put, April can't have nice things because her mom is a lunatic with issues she doesn't see as the sickness they are.