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Making a statement

Sex appeal

Paying the price

A cut above

Wearable couture

Calling all glitterati

No joke

With pricey, crystal-encrusted accessories, Samsung and Swarovski are absolutely making a statement -- but it isn't just about ostentation.

Caption by / Photo by Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

The high-end ornamental cases and straps for the 5.7-inch Samsung Galaxy Note 4 phablet and cuff-size Gear S smartwatch are part of an ongoing effort to appeal to women who may not otherwise gravitate toward the physically large phones and wearables. (The Samsung Galaxy S5 and Gear Fit band are also part of the collection.)

Caption by / Photo by Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

Even apart from the cha-ching needed to purchase the glittering goods (no exact prices yet, I'm afraid), the Note 4 case especially comes at the cost of slimness and comfort.

Caption by / Photo by Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

The bright Swarovski crystals can be a little scratchy on the skin, and add substantial thickness, despite the partner's prestige.

Caption by / Photo by Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

Even more than smartphones, the wearables industry is grappling with ways to appeal to both women and men's diverse aesthetic tastes on products that are even more personal -- and visible -- than the phones that spend a good amount of time in pockets and bags.

Caption by / Photo by Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

Swarovski's Gear S bands match the black and white watch faces, turning the uberthick watch straps that can swallow a daintier wrist into chic cuffs that fit in better with an upscale dress code. Samsung's partnerships with other manufacturers will surely produce a variety of sporty, classic, and playful strap materials besides.

Caption by / Photo by Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

There is no single way to appeal to women or men, children or teens. However, as wearables become more popular and prevalent, aesthetics will play an even larger role in individuals' buying decisions. The companies that can balance functionality and fashion sense will fare better than those that force their customers to conform to a set style, watch-face-size included.

Caption by / Photo by Jessica Dolcourt/CNET
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