What does "sleek" mean?

CuffDaddy

Connoisseur
I see the word "sleek" being used a lot on this forum. Is this just being used as a synonym for "stylish"? Or is there a particular aesthetic that's being referenced? Is "sleek" for everyone? Should we all be aspiring to "sleekness"?

Those of you who commend items for their sleekness, or denigrate others for the absence of this quality, please enlighten the rest of us. What's this "sleek" thing all about?
 

CuffDaddy

Connoisseur
Moose, as applied to shoes, what does "sleek" or "streamlined" mean? Is it about the ration between width and length? Does that mean that the same shoe in size 11.5AA is necessarily going to be more "sleek" than a size 10EEE? Since the shape of the heel, instep, etc., is largely dictated by the geometry of the foot, is the toe the place where sleekness can be controlled? Is "sleek" in shoes simply a measure of the relative narrowness and length of the toe?
 

Cruiser

Connoisseur
From Dictionary.com:


Sleek:
1.smooth or glossy, as hair, an animal, etc.2.well-fed or well-groomed.3.trim and graceful; finely contoured; streamlined: a sleek sports car. 4.smooth in manners, speech, etc.; suave.5.cleverly or deceitfully skillful; slick: a sleek confidence man.

When I've used it in this forum I have intended it to mean "trim" and "streamlined" or in other words not a lot of broken lines. For example, I've said that I like a ventless jacket because it provides for a more sleek appearance, meaning that nothing ever sticks out in the back.

Cruiser
 

Cary Grant

Super Member
From Dictionary.com:


Sleek:
1.smooth or glossy, as hair, an animal, etc.2.well-fed or well-groomed.3.trim and graceful; finely contoured; streamlined: a sleek sports car. 4.smooth in manners, speech, etc.; suave.5.cleverly or deceitfully skillful; slick: a sleek confidence man.

When I've used it in this forum I have intended it to mean "trim" and "streamlined" or in other words not a lot of broken lines. For example, I've said that I like a ventless jacket because it provides for a more sleek appearance, meaning that nothing ever sticks out in the back.

Cruiser


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CuffDaddy

Connoisseur
When I've used it in this forum I have intended it to mean "trim" and "streamlined" or in other words not a lot of broken lines. For example, I've said that I like a ventless jacket because it provides for a more sleek appearance, meaning that nothing ever sticks out in the back.

Thanks, Cruiser. I think your example is very instructive in reaching a sensible understanding of what "sleek" means in the context of clothing.
 

CuffDaddy

Connoisseur
Dingo, I think we've got to get the meaning of "sleek" hammered out first before we start debating what the meaning of "boxy" or "clunky" is.

If Cruiser is on the right track with his definition, "detailed" might be the antonym. If, per my exchange with Moose, the definition is about aspect ration (width to length/height), then "broad" or "robust" or "strong" might be antonyms.
 

Kurt N

Super Member
In another thread there was some discussion about whether "sleek" shoes tend to be of higher quality. I immediately thought of a pair of Bostonians which I bought a while back, before being better-educated by this site. When I tried them on, my wife said "Oh, those make your feet look smaller!"

That I think would be a possible definition: tending to give the impression of less mass or volume.

As far as the quality is concerned: the soles were glued and started pulling loose from the shoe after a wearing or two. So much for
sleek <==> high-quality.
 

CuffDaddy

Connoisseur
Kurt, interesting idea. Would spandex clothing then not qualify as "sleek," since it would make most wearers look fatter/larger than clothes that are less body-hugging? How about skinny pants? Are those sleek only for the skinny guys that look skinny in them, and non-sleek for those of average and above build/breadth, for whom skinny pants are clingy and lumpy?

And if "makes you look smaller" is the definition, is that something we want for our feet? After all, you know what they say about the size of a man's feet... ;)
 

Packard

Senior Member
Just for fun, what's the opposite of sleek? Boxy, clunky?

My 1980's issue Movado Museum Watch is sleek.

My 2008 issue Rolex Date Just is boxy, inelegant and crude by comparison. (I got sucked in by the panache of the Rolex name).

I have an 8-1/2 EEE foot. "Sleek" does not apply to that size shoe.
 

Kurt N

Super Member
Kurt, interesting idea. Would spandex clothing then not qualify as "sleek," since it would make most wearers look fatter/larger than clothes that are less body-hugging? How about skinny pants? Are those sleek only for the skinny guys that look skinny in them, and non-sleek for those of average and above build/breadth, for whom skinny pants are clingy and lumpy?

Re the spandex, I didn't think about that aspect but I would embrace (err, for lack of a better word) that conclusion. Sleek can depend on who's wearing it.
 
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CuffDaddy

Connoisseur
My 1980's issue Movado Museum Watch is sleek.

My 2008 issue Rolex Date Just is boxy, inelegant and crude by comparison. (I got sucked in by the panache of the Rolex name).

I have an 8-1/2 EEE foot. "Sleek" does not apply to that size shoe.

The first two paragraphs line up with the ideas in my exchange with Cruiser - that simplicity is a (perhaps the) key attribute of a "sleek" item.

The point about shoes hits home with me. I take a 10.5W - I also cannot imagine what a "sleek" shoe that fits my foot would be, unless it had some elfin toe on it.
 

Sir Walter

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
My reference to sleekness speaks to the use of longer lines, narrower features, and a tapered fit and or look. After looking through the C&J catalog, there seems to be very few models of shoes that would accommodate a man with wider feet. The shoes by EG and JL appear to be void of any wider fitting models. The smallness of the shoes, at least to my eyes almost gives the shoes an effeminate look. These three companies seem to prefer an understated pointier toe that is void of round and or square dimensions, at least to the point that they are certainly less clunkier looking than that of AE, Alden, Loake and Cheaney just to name a few. It is kind of like the difference between a BB sack suit which does not follow the natural curve of the body and presents the wear with a baggier look. This is very different from the more stylish silhouettes used by Brioni and others.
 
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Mad Hatter

Super Member
I use the term to mean clean, minimal-but not stark, austere. There is nothing that needs added nor taken away. Sophisticated. The aesthetics derive from the design/cut, rather than embellishment.

A good example of sleek to me is wholecuts and trim-fitting clothes.
 

Sir Walter

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
I use the term to mean clean, minimal-but not stark, austere. There is nothing that needs added nor taken away. Sophisticated. The aesthetics derive from the design/cut, rather than embellishment.

A good example of sleek to me is wholecuts and trim-fitting clothes.

I would agree.
 

JibranK

Super Member
I see the word "sleek" being used a lot on this forum. Is this just being used as a synonym for "stylish"? Or is there a particular aesthetic that's being referenced? Is "sleek" for everyone? Should we all be aspiring to "sleekness"?

Those of you who commend items for their sleekness, or denigrate others for the absence of this quality, please enlighten the rest of us. What's this "sleek" thing all about?
The Conduit Cut
 

Matt S

Connoisseur

I don't think I would say Connery's suits are the most sleek of suits. As Savile Row firms go, I'd say Huntsman is quite sleek whilst Anderson & Sheppard is not. This is nothing against A&S, just what fits the definition. Anthony Sinclair's suits are somewhere in between. As for Bond, I would say Lazenby's suits by Dimi Major are much more sleek. Again, nothing against Connery's suits, which I am most fond of.
 
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