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Must-have accessories for the holiday season

This holiday season, transform outfits from so-so to sumptuous with the right accessories for both men and women. For the ladies, there's sensuous clutches, chunky gemstones and layered beads for impact. Among gentlemen, it's distinctive yet dialed-back watches and subtle yet ultra-luxe cufflinks. If there's one message, it's ornamentation without ostentation, so pile it on

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From stunning cocktail rings to sexy statement necklaces, the season's hottest new accessories are rich and lush. According to Oriella Stillo of Toronto's Accessity, "people are looking at the jewellery, not the clothes." Ports 1961 sheath dress, $595 through www.ports1961.com. Balenciaga coat, $2,595 at Holt Renfrew (www.holtrenfrew.com). Accessories from left to right, Halston Heritage clutch, $195 at the Bay. Myles Mindham citrine ring, $6,000, gold bracelet, $500, diamond tennis bracelet, $14,750, gold studded bracelet, $10,850, hammered-gold bracelet, $6,900 through www.mindham.com. Rita Tesolin gold and purple cuff, $150. Myles Mindham 18-karat-gold bracelet, $13,400.

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Ports 1961 sheath dress, $595 through www.ports1961.com. Nakamol crystal necklace, $445 at Accessity (www.accessity.com). Richard Booth pave diamond ring, $25,000, earrings, $3,200, tiger's eye ring, $7,200 through www.richardbooth.ca. Ports 1961 clutch, $250.

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Statement necklaces Back for another season, the bib necklace has proved it's no flash-in-the-pan trend. As the ultimate adornment piece, it adds substance to the neckline and takes any outfit from demure to dazzling. "If you have a simple dress, there's nothing like a big shot of jewellery," Stillo says. "Women want something that gives pizzazz when the clothes are so monochromatic." R. J. Graziano necklace, $295 at Accessity (www.accessity.com).

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Blackout watches The sandblasted ceramic J12 Marine watch from Chanel has all the makings of a modern classic. Thanks to the black-on-black case and strap, it is as formal as it is casual and will work with everything from the little black suit to the black-tie gown. Chanel watch, $6,925 through www.chanel.com. Richard Booth black diamond bracelet, $18,700 at Richard Booth (www.richardbooth.ca). Rita D chain bracelet, $90 through www.reiastudio.com. Portolano leather glove, $95 at Accessity. Ports 1961 clutch, $250 through www.ports1961.com.

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Bold bangles There's no science to stacking the wrist candy. But a common element, whether the metal or the colour scheme, is key. Juxtaposing chunky and slim results in a playful mix. Resist the tendency to go overboard, adhering to the wisdom of Coco Chanel by taking off the last thing you put on before heading out the door. From left to right, Re-Stated by Trudelle Laker ring, $250, diamond triangle bangle, $175 through www.trudellelaker.com. Amoli Baci bracelet, $35 to $118 per bead at Richard Booth. Re-Stated by Trudelle Laker cuff, $295. Benitah resin and diamond bracelet, $800 at Richard Booth.

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Rich rings and clutches One stunning semi-precious stone is all you'll need to augment your ring finger. When it comes to bags and clutches, consider complementary jewel-toned shades for a refreshing and wearable alternative to basic black. Jessica Jensen clutch, $498 through www.jessicajensen.com. H&M ring, $6.95 through www.hm.com.

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Perfect pocket squares Tone down the tie (or ditch it altogether) and pump up the pocket square. Opt for colour over classic white, especially when pairing with suits in navy, grey or neutral checks. Buying one as a gift? Choose an expressive micro pattern in contrasting colours. At Harry Rosen, the pocket square is styled as a puff rather than a pouf. (Yes, there's a difference: Puffs have exposed corners and are less voluminous). Roda silk pocket square, $65 at Harry Rosen (www.harryrosen.com).

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Many watch makers did not anticipate demand to rebound so strongly after the 2009 spending slump.

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Classic cufflinks Cufflinks are also understated this year. Think classic stones and designs over bling and brassiness. A man reveals a lot about his personality by his choice of cufflinks. Sure, animal shapes and pin-up images are conversation starters, but elegant and timeless? Not exactly. Instead, look for gemstones like chrysoprase and chalcedony. Here, a gold basket-weave design is set atop the cushion-shaped, hand-grooved stones. Myles Mindham nephrite cufflinks, $2,980 through www.mindham.com.

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Posh pouches Meet the pochette, smaller than a man purse yet larger than a wallet. Extra spacious and closed with a zipper, it keeps credit cards and travel documents organized and safe. The pochette's handy size makes it easy to slip into a briefcase or carry like a pocketbook. Rich shades of caramel, mahogany and mocha will develop a beautiful patina. Fossil leather pochette, $55 at the Bay (www.hbc.com). Omega watch, $6,950 through www.omegawatches.com. Harry Rosen leather gloves, $370.

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