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Wearable computing has recently gained much popularity as an ambitious vision for future personalized mobile systems. Its aim is intelligent, environment aware systems unobtrusively embedded into the mobile environments of their users. With the combination of complex processing requirements, the necessity of placing sensors and input/output modules at different locations on the user's body, and stringent limits on size, weight, and battery capacity, the design of such systems is an inherently challenging problem. We demonstrate how systematic design and quantitative analysis can be applied to wearable architectures. We first present a model that allows various factors influencing the design of a wearable system to be incorporated into formal cost metrics. In particular, we show how to consistently incorporate specific wearable factors such as device placement requirements, ergonomics, and dynamic workload profiles into the model. We then discuss how efficient estimation algorithms can be extended and applied to the evaluation of different architectures with respect to our cost metrics. Finally, we discuss quantitative results from a proof-of-concept case study showing the trade offs between different architectures for a given wearable scenario. Summarized, we demonstrate how the description and the design of wearable systems can be put on a systematic, formal basis allowing us to treat them similar as conventional embedded systems.