These are very different questions, and Miss Manners will answer the most important one first.
No, you should not be criticizing what others were wearing at such a time. People do naturally focus on details then, oddly enough. It may be a way of distracting themselves from the awfulness of death. But please put this out of your mind. Many a family feud has started over minor issues in funeral behavior, and it is a poor legacy for the deceased.
That said, Miss Manners does believe in the symbolic value of clothing as a means of showing sorrow and respect at a funeral. And your husband’s T-shirt and jeans would not qualify, however much your church recognizes this as solemn dress.
Yet this was not a funeral. Your father-in-law was, at least when you arrived, still alive, perhaps even somewhat conscious. Your relatives probably did not think of dressing other than for another hospital visit. And if they did, they may have concluded that it would be jarring for him to see the family in mourning.
You asked what would be correct dress. Miss Manners has had to consult centuries-old paintings showing the deathbeds of saints, where those gathered around seem to be dressed pretty much in the ordinary style of their day. But then, those may not be typical cases.Bad taste DEAR MISS MANNERS: Please confirm that if one is given a gift of earrings, it is bad taste to ask the gifter to get a size larger. GENTLE READER:
You are not talking about someone who has such huge ears that earrings keep disappearing inside them, so larger earrings are needed, Miss Manners gathers.
Even then, the rule would apply that it is rude to complain about a present and to expect the donor to change it, let alone upgrade it. So yes, it is in bad taste to ask for another helping of carats.© Universal Uclick 9/6