Expert tips on white lace dresses, shoes, and designer threads.

Pierra Calasanz-Labrador is a freelance editor, writer, stylist, and columnist (her shopping column “Fifi’s Finds” appears in the Fashion section of Manila Bulletin every Friday). She also contributes fashion, travel and lifestyle finds on

This week, she answers readers’ questions on lace dresses and shoes, and scoring affordable designer dresses.

Summergirl42 writes
: “I’m wearing a white lace dress to a wedding. What kind of shoes will go perfectly with that?”

Pierra says: Before anything, some friendly advice: wedding guest dressing etiquette dictates that only the bride should be in head-to-toe white, so make sure your own white frock is only cocktail length, and hopefully accented by other colors, so you won’t be accused of trying to steal the limelight (eek!).

That being said, when choosing a shade of shoes to go with your white lace dress, again, stay away from bridal white. Metallics like gold and bronze are your best bets, or choose a pair that picks up an accent color from your gown or accessory. Black can work as well for that monochrome look, but be sure to pair it with a coordinating accessory like a black purse, lariat, or lace belt, so there’s continuity in your look. When choosing shoe styles, delicate strappy sandals go perfectly with either flowy gowns or short, tight numbers, especially for daytime weddings (don’t forget to get a pedi!).

You’ll find lots of inexpensive choices at department stores—no need to splurge, especially if you only plan on wearing them once. If you’re the type who likes to dance till dawn, check out the dancefloor-worthy, sparkly rhinestone-studded or sequined strappy stilettos at Heelz Hobbo. To match more structured silhouettes (think the ladylike styles of the 1950s), you might want to choose narrow (never chunky), closed-toe or ankle-strap pumps in formal fabrics like satin, suede, or elegant leather. A pair of pointy-toe court shoes with a 2.5 or 3-inch heel is a sophisticated, classic, universally flattering choice; find some at Call It Spring or Zara.

Lala Aniceto writes: "Where can I find affordable designer dresses, or designer-inspired styles?"

Pierra says: There’s nothing quite like the beautiful quality and fit of a designer dress custom-made for you; the prices, however…not so beautiful! What’s a girl to do?

Seek out designers with RTW lines so you still get designer’s touch without the astronomical price tag. There are many ready-to-wear pieces by mostly young, up-and-coming designers in specialty shops in malls. Check out designer rows in malls for lovely cocktail dresses and party pieces by popular young designers like Joel Escober, Chris Diaz, Louis Claparols, Noel Crisostomo, and more. Best of all, if you like a piece but it doesn’t fit perfectly, you can have it made-to-measure—the perfect compromise between off-the-rack and custom-made, at retail price!

Specialty sections in department stores can be treasure troves for affordable finds. Many of them carry chic, reasonably-priced dresses.