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United States Patent Application 20160100634
Kind Code A1
Rogers; Jonathan April 14, 2016

SHIRT STIFFENING DEVICE

Abstract

The appearance of a shirt or blouse is kept smooth and wrinkle-free by applying a non-permanent, self-adhering shirt support device comprising a clear or highly translucent basic support layer, an adhesive formulated to be temporarily affixable to a shirt fabric, and an optional soft touch layer to area adjacent to a shirt placket.


Inventors: Rogers; Jonathan; (White Plains, NY)
Applicant:
Name City State Country Type

Rogers; Jonathan

White Plains

NY

US
Assignee: DESIGNLAB29 LLC
White Plains
NY

Family ID: 1000001561055
Appl. No.: 14/874448
Filed: October 4, 2015


Related U.S. Patent Documents

Application NumberFiling DatePatent Number
62061720Oct 9, 2014
62151979Apr 23, 2015

Current U.S. Class: 2/256
Current CPC Class: A41B 1/20 20130101; A41B 1/02 20130101
International Class: A41B 1/02 20060101 A41B001/02; A41B 1/20 20060101 A41B001/20

Claims



1) A shirt support device, comprising a) a clear or highly translucent 0.01 to 1.3 mm thick basic support layer having a first surface and a second surface, b) a clear or highly translucent self-adhesive layer affixed to the first surface of the basic support layer, said self-adhesive layer capable of being non-permanently attached to a shirt fabric, and c) an optional soft touch coating layer affixed to the second surface of the basic support layer, wherein the shirt support device is capable of being non-permanently attached to a shirt fabric as a means to reduce wrinkles and provide support to the shirt.

2) The device according to claim 1, wherein the basic support layer comprises a material selected from the group consisting of polyethylene terephthalate, polymethylmethacrylate, polycarbonate, polypropylene, polyethylene, polyvinyl chloride, polylactic acid, polystyrene, cellulose, cellulose acetate, or any combination thereof.

3) The device according to claim 2, wherein the basic support layer is 0.51 mm thick or less.

4) The device according to claim 3, wherein the device is 0.01 to 1.3 mm thick.

5) The device according to claim 4, wherein the device is 0.5 to 5.0 cm wide, and 5.0 to 30.0 cm long.

6) The device according to claim 1, wherein the soft touch coating comprises a polyurethane or acrylic resin.

7) The device according to claim 1, wherein the device is 0.5 to 5.0 cm wide, and 5.0 to 30.0 cm long.

8) The device according to claim 6, wherein the soft touch coating comprises a polyurethane or acrylic resin.

9) A process for reducing wrinkles and/or providing support to a shirt comprising adhering a device according to claim 1 to a surface of the shirt.

10) A process for reducing wrinkles and/or providing support to a shirt comprising adhering a device according to claim 6 to a surface of the shirt.

11) A process for reducing wrinkles and/or providing support to a shirt comprising adhering a device according to claim 7 to a surface of the shirt.

12) The process according to claim 9, wherein the shirt has a placket and the device is adhered to an area adjacent to the placket.

13) The process according to claim 12, wherein the shirt comprises a fastener associated with the placket.

14) The process according to claim 12, wherein the shirt is a man's dress shirt, a woman's dress shirt, or a polo shirt.

15) A shirt having a placket, comprising a device according to claim 1 temporarily adhered to an area adjacent to the placket.

16) The shirt according to claim 15 comprising a fastener associated with the placket.

17) The shirt according to claim 15, which shirt is a man's dress shirt, a woman's dress shirt, or a polo shirt.

18) A process for manufacturing a shirt support device according to claim 1 from a rigid yet flexible substrate, comprising, not in any particular order, a) molding, cutting, or forming the rigid yet flexible substrate into a shape fitting a shirt, b) applying to a first surface of the rigid yet flexible substrate a coating of a non-permanent adhesive, or a two-sided non-permanent adhesive tape, c) applying a release layer to the adhesive, or the release layer remains from the two-sided adhesive tape, and d) applying a soft touch coating to a second surface of the rigid yet flexible substrate.

19) The process according to claim 18 wherein the rigid yet flexible substrate comprises a material selected from the group consisting of polyethylene terephthalate, polymethylmethacrylate, polycarbonate, polypropylene, polyethylene, polyvinyl chloride, polylactic acid, polystyrene, cellulose, cellulose acetate, or any combination thereof.

20) A device according to claim 1 that consists of a shape that is rectangular in nature, and the opposing corners are removed.
Description



[0001] This application claims priority benefit of U.S. provisional patent application No. 62/061,720 filed Oct. 9, 2014, and U.S. provisional patent application No. 62/151,979, filed Apr. 23, 2015, the disclosures of which are incorporated herein by reference in its entirety.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

[0002] The present invention relates to a means to keep the appearance of a shirt or blouse smooth and wrinkle-free with the use of a stiffening element that can be self-adhered to the area adjacent to a shirt placket or opening to provide an orderly appearance.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0003] There are various attempts in the prior art to improve the appearance and orderliness of a shirt front, all of which fail to provide a solution to this issue. U.S. Pat. No. 232,696 describes the use of a shirt construction that contains narrow pockets within a shirt placket to accommodate removable stiffeners for maintaining a wrinkle free shirt front. This technology requires a shirt of the described construction and the invention cannot be applied to any other type of shirt. This patent focuses on the use of a stiffening element within the shirt placket and not the area adjacent to a shirt placket.

[0004] U.S. Pat. No. 1,098,638 describes a mechanical attachment device to hold the front part of a shirt without wrinkles. The device of this patent will remain out of view for a fully buttoned shirt, but would be visible for a shirt where the top buttons are unfastened.

[0005] U.S. Pat. No. 2,244,167 describes the use of a garment stay to hold the front of a shirt in position and wrinkle free. This technology requires a shirt of the described construction and the invention cannot be applied to any other type of shirt. The stay described in this patent is also not specific enough to maintain a wrinkle free shirt placket.

[0006] U.S. Pat. No. 2,467,117 describes the use of garment stays inserted into a shirt placket to maintain a wrinkle free shirt front. The technology of this patent requires the use of a shirt of the described construction or modification of an existing shirt to fit the garment stay. This patent focuses on the use of a stiffening element within the shirt placket and not the area adjacent to a shirt placket.

[0007] U.S. Pat. No. 5,626,267 describes the use of a malleable metal, adhesively applied garment stay that can be used for any number of garment types and locations. The technology of this patent would be opaque and not useful for a translucent or sheer shirt material to hold the placket in shape. The patent does not specifically describe the use of a stiffening element within the area adjacent to a shirt placket.

[0008] U.S. Pat. No. 8,001,619 describes the use of a placket stiffening element that is specifically applied to the placket itself using an adhesive backing. The geometry of the stiffener would need to fit exactly between the button slits and the edge of the placket, limiting the use and capability of the stiffener. The patent only makes claim to a shirt that uses this type of placket stiffener that also contains a pocket to hold the stiffening element. The technology of the patent claims requires the use of a shirt of the described construction or modification of an existing shirt to fit the garment stay. The patent does not specifically describe the use of a stiffening element within the area adjacent to a shirt placket. Shirt plackets contain stitching for various features including buttons or fasteners as well as slits or receiving fasteners, which render the placket inner side to be less than planar. The use of this non-planar area to apply a planar adhesively backed stiffener can result in insufficient adhesion, making the use of the technology challenging for consumers. In addition, placement of a straightener immediately next to the buttons and button slits of a shirt can create complications if the wearer needs to manipulate these buttons or button slits (to close their shirt if it were to become cold for example).

[0009] US Patent Application 2006/0230499 describes the use of a rigid foam core element with adhesive on both sides to attach to a garment and to a wearer of the garment. Although any garment is claimed, the description focuses on women's dresses and the need to hold these in place. The patent makes no mention of the use of the technology in the area adjacent to a shirt placket. The technology of this patent would be opaque and not useful for a translucent or sheer shirt material to hold the placket in shape. The adhesion of this device to the area adjacent to a shirt placket and subsequently to the wearer would not function for the purpose described in this patent application.

[0010] US Patent Application 2011/0173740 describes the use of a placket straightener that limits the separation of material between fasteners or buttons. This technology requires both fasteners to be fastened, functioning only for the buttoned portion of the shirt. This technology could not be used for the unbuttoned portion of the shirt since it would be exposed and could not be attached to one side of the shirt.

[0011] US Patent Application 2012/0278973 describes the use of a placket truss that limits the separation of material between buttons. This technology requires both fasteners to be fastened, functioning only for the buttoned portion of the shirt. This technology could not be used for the unbuttoned portion of the shirt since it would be exposed and could not be attached to one side of the shirt.

[0012] There are a number of US Patents and Applications that provide a means to support a shirt collar with the use of an adhesively backed plastic or other semi-rigid material. For example, see U.S. Pat. No. 2,510,030; U.S. Pat. No. 2,595,133; U.S. Pat. No. 2,599,636; U.S. Pat. No. 2,668,956; U.S. Pat. No. 3,088,117; U.S. Pat. No. 3,865,286; and U.S. Pat. No. 6,089,422. None of these patents describe the use of the stiffening element as a component that can provide support to a shirt placket specifically, and none are described to be placed in an area adjacent to a shirt placket.

[0013] U.S. Pat. Nos. 983,953 and 983,954 describe the use a collar stay with an adhesive backing on one side and a fabric covering on the other side to provide additional comfort to the wearer of the device. The soft covering is fabric, providing additional technical difficulties of leveling of the fabric on the stay surface. In addition, these patents are specific to collars whereby the text describes use in ladies' lace or fabric collars. There is no mention of use in straightening of a shirt placket or locating said stiffener in the area adjacent to a shirt placket.

[0014] US Patent Application 2011/0219514 describes the use of a stay element that comprises a bendable/flexible plastic inner, a fabric outer layer and a silicon soft touch, low slip coating. The stay described in this patent is applied as a permanent addition to a garment and cannot be used for any shirt construction. The technology of this patent would be opaque via the fabric component which is specifically required by the claims. This patent does not mention the use of an adhesive application of the element as a temporary stiffening element for a garment. This patent also does not mention the use of the technology as a stiffener for a shirt placket, although general use for shirts is discussed in the patent text.

[0015] U.S. Pat. No. 2,483,952; U.S. Pat. No. 6,701,582; U.S. Pat. No. 7,328,460; U.S. Pat. No. 7,653,950; US Patent Application 2005/0028252; US Patent Application 2006/0218698; and US Patent Application 2007/0294804 describe variations of a concept of using a semi-rigid material with an adhesive backing to provide stiffening to trouser or pant legs. These patents and applications do not make mention of the use of the technologies in straightening of a shirt placket, nor do they suggest the use of the described devices in the area adjacent to a shirt placket.

[0016] US Patent Application 2012/0151660; and US Patent Application 2012/0304362 describe the use of specific packaging of stiffening elements for garments based on adhesively coated, semi-rigid materials such as plastic. The claims for the patent applications focus on packaging to provide ease of use of the stiffening elements. These patent applications do not make mention of the use of the technologies in straightening of a shirt placket, nor do they suggest the use of the described devices in the area adjacent to a shirt placket.

[0017] It is clear that there is a need to provide a simple means to provide stiffening to a shirt opening to help with the appearance and fit of women's and men's clothing. There is a need to provide such support with a device that is capable of use in shirts that are not specifically manufactured to receive the stiffener. There is also a need to provide this support with a device that is transparent in order to be invisible in the case of a shirt with sheer or translucent fabric. There is also a need to provide a stiffener for a shirt that can be easily applied to an area not entangled with fasteners or buttons, giving a less complicated approach to providing support. There is also no mention of the use of soft touch coatings in the prior art for providing comfort to wearers of supporting elements.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0018] The present invention describes a device that provides a means to support, stiffen and remove wrinkles in the area of and around the buttons of a shirt. The shirt can be, but is not limited to, a full button down shirt, partial button down shirt, or a polo shirt with only a few buttons. The shirt can be for a man or for a woman. The invention comprises a semi-rigid strip of plastic or other material that contains an adhesive layer to stick to the inside of a shirt to reduce wrinkles and provide support to the applied and surrounding area of the shirt. In many embodiments of this invention the device is applied to the inside of the shirt, adjacent to the placket, not on the placket, to access a flat surface to adhere to. The stiffener can be applied to one or both sides of a shirt.

[0019] In a second embodiment of the invention, the stiffener and adhesive are transparent or highly translucent to provide support to a shirt with sheer or translucent fabric without notice. A transparent plastic or other semi-rigid material, together with a transparent adhesive would provide this functionality. The stiffener is not covered with a fabric sheath. If an optional soft touch coating is used, described below, it would also need to be transparent or highly translucent.

[0020] In a third embodiment of the invention, the stiffener is applied to a shirt that is not specifically manufactured to receive or store such a device. The stiffener is not supplied as a permanent support attached to a shirt, and would be applied by a wearer of the shirt or someone who would assist in dressing the wearer. The device can be applied, worn, and simply disposed of once the wearer is finished with the use of the device. The stiffener can be saved and reused at another time by the wearer, but the stiffener is not permanently attached to a garment. The stiffener can be applied to almost any shirt.

[0021] In a fourth embodiment of the invention, the stiffener can optionally additionally contain a soft touch coating on the side facing the user when applied to a shirt. The soft touch coating provides comfort to the user if an additional undershirt is worn or not. The soft touch coating also provides limited slip and therefore provides more support as it lies with the shirt on the user or their undershirt. The soft touch coating is also transparent or highly translucent to be used with a shirt with sheer or translucent fabric without notice.

[0022] In a fifth embodiment of the invention, the stiffener can optionally be shaped in the form of a rectangle with diagonally opposing corners removed. These corners would be visible if they were present and their removal allows the wearer to provide support to his or her shirt that remains completely invisible to others. The shape described still provides support and would result in left and right side versions of the device.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0023] The figures and their descriptions are considered illustrative for the purposes of showing the novelty and use of the concept of this patent. These figures are in no way limiting of the scope of the patent and are only used to show some aspects of the claims of the present invention.

[0024] FIG. 1 is a front view of a shirt with a wrinkled, disordered placket.

[0025] FIG. 2A is a view of the shirt support device or placket stiffener according to the present invention.

[0026] FIG. 2B is a cross sectional view of the optionally coated device described herein.

[0027] FIG. 2C is a drawing of a left and right shirt support with a specific geometry to remain invisible to others.

[0028] FIG. 3 is a front view of a shirt containing the placket stiffener according to the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

[0029] Any shirt with an opening or two sides has the potential to open in a disordered manner. The edge of these types of shirts typically contains a placket, which is a hem that may or may not contain fasteners or buttons. These plackets can become wrinkled, rumpled, disordered or asymmetric versus the desired state of being straight, flat or only slightly opened for the wearer, revealing their skin or their undershirt. This problem can be caused by insufficient support of the shirt material itself, or can be a result of a jacket, overcoat or other top garment providing downward pressure on the shirt front. It is clear from the amount of aforementioned prior art targeting this problem that it is an issue that requires correction.

[0030] Referring to the Figures, a shirt 1 with a button down front, for example, can contain a wrinkled placket 2 due to a lack of support to the placket. It is desired that the shirt does not lie in this disordered manner and the current best solution is to fully button the shirt and possibly even wear a tie to provide support. The prior art proposes that a shirt with a support built into the placket can be offered to the user, but this approach requires a consumer to purchase a shirt that does not necessarily fit their style or preference. The prior art also proposes the use of the shirt placket to adhere a temporary support device to eliminate this wrinkled appearance. In this case, the stitching of the buttons 4 and button slits 5 create an uneven surface of the placket to attach a support device. This approach is limiting in scope and capability and there is the need to provide another means to support a shirt opening.

[0031] The area next to the shirt opening or placket 6 can provide a flat surface for a support device 9. This area is close enough to the shirt opening or placket to provide support and is also hidden from view. This area can also be large enough to accommodate a larger support device for a heavier shirt or shirts with different geometries. The area under the shirt 7 or undershirt would come in direct contact with a straightener attached to the area adjacent to the opening or shirt placket. There is also a need to ensure the support device is smooth or soft to the touch, as described below.

[0032] The shirt in FIG. 1 is only for illustrative purposes and the technology of this invention can be applied to any type of shirt with an opening. A shirt may contain fasteners different than buttons. The shirt may contain no buttons or fasteners of any type. The opening of the shirt can be the whole length of the shirt (as with most dress shirts) or it can be only a portion of the length of the shirt. The shirt can be more casual, as with a polo type shirt. The shirt can be a woman's or man's shirt. The opening of the shirt can be in the front, back or side of the garment.

[0033] The aim of the wearer of the shirt using this technology can be for aesthetic or functional reasons. A person may want the opening of their shirt to simply look better. A person may want their shirt to be more orderly to accommodate a sweater, jacket, overcoat, or some other garment added to their outfit.

[0034] An example of the shirt support device 9 described by this patent is shown in FIG. 2A, FIG. 2B, and FIG. 2C. The shirt support element contains at least two layers, the adhesive layer 11 and basic support layer 12. The adhesive layer 11 is used for removable, non-permanent bonding to the garment to the area adjacent to the opening or placket of a shirt. The basic support layer 12 provides support and consists of a material that is thin but also provides a rigid, yet flexible mechanical properties to the overall device. The shirt support device 9 can optionally contain a release liner layer 10, which would provide the ability to package the support device without adhering to other undesirable packaging components. The shirt support device 9 can optionally contain a soft touch coating layer 13 that may provide comfort to the user and limit the slip of the device in use. These aspects of the device described will be further elaborated below.

[0035] The dimensions of the shirt support device described in this invention can vary depending on the shirt and the support required. In practice, the basic support layer 12 is generally as thin as possible so as to reduce discomfort to the wearer and minimize any effects they device may have on the appearance of the shirt. In the below examples, 5 mil (0.13 mm) films were used for the basic support layer to produce the devices described and the thickness of this layer is typically 50 mils (1.3 mm) or less. Often the thickness of the basic support layer 12 is 20 mils (0.51 mm) or less, for example, the thickness of this layer is 10 mils (0.25 mm) or less.

[0036] The shirt support device can be narrow and long to provide support to a shirt opening. The length of the device can be the length of the shirt opening, can be longer than the shirt opening, or it can be shorter than the shirt opening. Typically, the length of the device is less than 40 cm long, for example, the length of the device is 30 cm or less. Depending on the type of shirt and shirt opening, the device can be 10 cm or less for a polo-style shirt for example. The width of the device can vary depending on the shirt and support required, but with this invention, the support device can be wider than the distance between a shirt placket edge and the button slits or fasteners on the placket. In most embodiments the width of the device is less than 10 cm, for example, the width of the device is less than 5 cm. The ends of the device 9 can be square or rounded or take on some other shape. Rounded ends are preferred to maximize comfort to the user of the device. FIG. 2A shows a rounded end depiction of the support device of the present invention.

[0037] The basic support layer 12, also referred to as the stiffener layer, can be made from many types of materials. This layer can be made of synthetic or natural polymers. The layer can be made of thermoplastic, thermoset or non-melting resins. The layer can consist of polymers that are incapable of melting. The basic support layer is typically made from a clear, colorless thermoplastic or from a clear, colorless non-melting resin. Examples of a clear, colorless thermoplastic include, but are not limited to, polyethylene terephthalate (PET), polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA), polycarbonate (PC), polypropylene (PP), polyethylene (PE), polyvinyl chloride (PVC), polylactic acid (PLA) and polystyrene (PS). Examples of clear, colorless non-melting resins are, but are not limited to, cellulose and cellulose acetate. Non-melting resins are preferred if accidental ironing of the device adhered to a shirt occurs. Resins with high melting temperatures can also be used to avoid accidental melting and adhesion to the shirt.

[0038] The transparency of the device 9 is obtained by providing a mixture of layers 11, 12 and optionally 13 that are also transparent or mostly transparent (very translucent). Transparency shows the benefit of use in a sheer or transparent fabric, and transparency minimizes non-wearers view of the device. A clear non-permanent adhesive 11 for fabric with a preference for the material used for the basic support layer 12 is required. A clear basic support layer 12 as described above is also required. And if an optional soft touch coating layer 13 is used, this layer would also need to be transparent or mostly transparent.

[0039] The layer 11 provides adhesion of the device to a shirt and fits the following criteria. As mentioned above, the adhesive layer 11 must be transparent or mostly transparent to minimize the ability to see the shirt support device 9. The adhesive layer 11 should be thick enough to adhere to shirts with textured surfaces, but thin enough to prevent adding thickness to the overall device. In many embodiments the thickness of the adhesive layer is 5 mils (0.13 mm) or less. The adhesive layer can be a multi-layer in its construction as a double sided tape that is clear. This multilayer version of 11 would consist of an adhesive layer-substrate layer-adhesive layer whereby one adhesive layer would adhere to the basic support layer 12. The other adhesive layer would adhere to the release layer 10 in storage, or to a shirt while in use.

[0040] The adhesive used in the device described in this invention can be based on waterborne, solventborne, 100% solids and/or UV cure technology, among others. The chemistry of the adhesive used can be, but is not limited to acrylic, polyurethane, halogenated hydrocarbon based, vinyl acetate, ethylene vinyl acetate, starch, polyvinyl alcohol, modified cellulose, polysaccharide, hydrocarbon, or other materials. A waterborne acrylic adhesive technology is preferred. Typical removable adhesive compositions are described in U.S. Pat. No. 5,763,555 and the references cited therein. Pressure sensitive adhesives are also described in Handbook of Pressure Sensitive Adhesive Technology, D. Satas, ISBN 0963799339.

[0041] The adhesive can be applied to the stiffening element of the device of this invention by use of a spray, curtain coating, Meyer bar, or other suitable coating technology. A wet film thickness of 1.0 to 10.0 mils, and dry film thickness of 0.2 to 6.0 mils is preferred. As known by those skilled in the art of removable adhesives, thicker films of adhesives provide stronger bonds during use. For this application, a strong but temporary bond is desired for the optimum effect of durability without permanent modification of a shirt.

[0042] The release layer 10 is used to provide protection to the adhesive layer 11 while the shirt support device is not in use. The release layer 10 can be made of many materials, such as a wax coated paper or a substrate coated with a silicone release layer. The release layer 10 is not required to be transparent since it will not be used on a shirt, but it can contain text or images provided by the seller of the device. The text can be directions to use the device, information about the company marketing the device, or any other information. Images can be company logos or images about how to apply the device, among other things.

[0043] Soft touch coatings are well known in the art of coatings technology. These types of coatings are typically based on polyurethane resin technology, but can comprise of a number of different chemistries. Soft touch provides desirable tack and feel of a surface, but can also add reduced slip to a coated surface. The soft feel and reduced slip of the optional coating 13 on the shirt support device 9 provides additional benefits to the user. Soft feel provides additional comfort to a piece added to the inside of a shirt to the wearer. Reduced slip provides a surface that will move with the body of the wearer, giving a uniform appearance to the shirt. The thickness of the optional soft touch coating layer 13 is 0.1 to 10 mils, but in particular embodiments 0.5 to 5 mils.

[0044] In the application of the optional soft touch coating layer 13, the top side of the stiffening element will be coated. In addition, it is possible that the liquid applied coating will carry over the edges of the device during manufacturing to provide additional soft touch to the thin edges of the device. Sharp corners obtained during cutting and/or forming of the dimensions set forth will be made additionally comforting to the user by this effect. FIG. 2B shows a representation of a cross section of the device described herein, whereby the relative dimensions of such layers can vary based on the description of the layers in this patent application. FIG. 2B shows the formation of the soft touch layer 13 as it conforms to the sides of the stiffener layer 12. This drawing shows a cross sectional view, but the terminal ends of the device are also expected to have similar coating phenomenon whereby the edges will be covered by the soft touch coating 13. It is also not necessary to have the soft touch coating spread to the edges of the stiffening device for practical reasons.

[0045] In an additional embodiment of this invention, the shirt support device can also have a shape as shown in FIG. 2C. The shape is a rectangular geometry with opposing corners removed by being cut at an angle between the trajectory of the side and top sides of the device. With this approach, the device shape is used to prevent the product from appearing when being worn by the user. For example, a device with the shape shown as 9B would be placed on the inside of the left side of a shirt to provide support. When the shirt with this device is worn and only the top button(s) are open, the placket and collar fold out. This folding would expose the corner of a rectangular shaped object used as described in this invention. Removing the corners provides a support device with the capability to support the shirt and placket, as well as remain hidden to others. Similarly, the shape 9C would provide the same support for the right side of a shirt without appearing in the view of others observing the wearer of the shirt. It is important to note that 9B and 9C are non-superimposable images of each other and the wearer would be required to have two different stiffening devices.

[0046] The shapes 9B and 9C show diagonally opposing corners that were removed to provide this additional benefit. The purpose of the removal of diagonally opposing corners is to allow the user to use the support device in both vertical positions, providing ease of use. The corner from one end of the device could be removed alone, and this invention is not meant to be limiting in this sense. The device has both corners removed to reduce confusion by the wearer.

[0047] The shapes shown in FIG. 2C are meant to be illustrative alone. The best results are with a support device with this shape and rounded corners to prevent irritation to the user. The exact length and width are also flexible, and preferences are described earlier in this patent application. The angle of the cut corner is not limited to, but is preferred to be 20 to 70 degrees from the vertical side of the device. An angle of 30 to 60 degrees is even more preferred. A 45 degree angle is even more preferred.

[0048] With the aforementioned construction of the device 9, a shirt 14 is supported to provide a shirt with a more desirable appearance. Unlike the prior art, the shirt support device 9 is applied to the area adjacent to the shirt placket 18 to give a better surface to adhere to. The supported placket 15 or supported shirt opening is the result, which can be provided without a support element applied directly to the placket. In fact, applying a support element to the placket has challenges with surface adhesion and with the geometry of the device. The area adjacent to the shirt placket or opening is defined as the inside edge of the placket to within 10 cm of the shirt placket. For example, the area adjacent to the placket or opening may be defined as the inside edge of the placket to within 5 cm of the shirt placket.

[0049] The support device of this invention can be placed on the inside of a shirt at the top of the shirt, or it can be placed at a lower part of the shirt opening, depending on which part of the shirt requires an orderly appearance.

[0050] The support device of this invention will come in contact with the wearer 19, or to an undershirt if it is also worn in addition to the shirt. The presence of the optional soft touch coating layer 13 will provide comfort to the wearer by giving a softer feel to the device. The soft touch coating also has limited slip, which will provide additional support to the device and therefore the shirt opening. This effect will show additional benefits whereby the user's clothing will move together with movement of the wearer's body.

[0051] Particular embodiments of the invention include the following.

[0052] One particular embodiment provides shirt support device, as shown in FIG. 2B, comprising [0053] a) a clear or highly translucent basic support layer having a first surface and a second surface, typically from 0.01 to 1.3 mm thick, often 0.51 mm thick or less, comprising for example a material selected from the group consisting of polyethylene terephthalate, polymethylmethacrylate, polycarbonate, polypropylene, polyethylene, polyvinyl chloride, polylactic acid, polystyrene, cellulose, cellulose acetate, or any combination thereof; [0054] b) a clear or highly translucent self-adhesive layer affixed to the first surface of the basic support layer, said self-adhesive layer capable of being non-permanently attached to a shirt fabric, and [0055] c) an optional soft touch coating layer affixed to the second surface of the basic support layer, said soft touch coating layer, for example, a layer of a soft touch coating comprising a polyurethane or acrylic resin; wherein the shirt support device is capable of being non-permanently attached to a shirt fabric as a means to reduce wrinkles and provide support to the shirt.

[0056] In some embodiments the device of the invention is from 0.01 to 1.3 mm thick, 0.5 to 5.0 cm wide, and/or 5.0 to 30.0 cm long.

[0057] Another particular embodiment provides a process for reducing wrinkles and/or providing support to a shirt comprising adhering the device above a surface of the shirt. The shirt may be any men's or women's shirt, such as a dress shirt polo shirt etc. The process is very suitable for a shirt having an opening or placket wherein the device is adhered to an area adjacent to the opening or placket, and in many embodiments a fastener, such as a button or series of buttons etc., is associated with the placket.

[0058] Another embodiment particular embodiment is a shirt, for example a shirt having an opening or placket, comprising the above device temporarily adhered to an area adjacent to the opening or placket. The shirt may be any men's or women's shirt, such as a dress shirt polo shirt etc., and in many embodiments a fastener, such as a button or series of buttons etc., is associated with the placket

[0059] Another embodiment is a process for manufacturing the shirt support device above from a rigid yet flexible substrate, comprising, not in any particular order,

[0060] a) molding, cutting, or forming the rigid yet flexible substrate into a shape fitting a shirt,

[0061] b) applying to a first surface of the rigid yet flexible substrate a coating of a non-permanent adhesive, or a two-sided non-permanent adhesive tape,

[0062] c) applying a release layer to the adhesive, or the release layer remains from the two-sided adhesive tape, and

[0063] d) applying a soft touch coating to a second surface of the rigid yet flexible substrate.

EXAMPLES

[0064] The following examples are considered illustrative for the purposes of showing the novelty and concept of this invention. These examples are in no way limiting of the scope of the patent and are only used to show some aspects of the claims of this invention.

Example 1

[0065] A 5 mil sheet of PET was cut into a 3.0 cm by 15.0 cm strip. Both ends of the strip were cut to create a rounded end. A layer of adhesive, Aleene's Tack It Over and Over, 5.0 mil was applied to the strip of PET using a drawdown Meyer bar. After drying for 6 hours, a strip of silicone paper release layer was applied to the adhesive layer for handling.

[0066] The release layer was removed and two versions of the above support device were applied to the two inside sides of a button down dress shirt, within 0.5 cm of the shirt placket. The top end of the device extended from 2 cm below the level of the top button or button slit. The placket was well supported and gave the shirt an organized appearance without the two top buttons buttoned.

Example 2

[0067] A 5 mil sheet of PET was cut into a 3.0 cm by 15.0 cm strip. Both ends of the strip were cut to create a rounded end. A layer of adhesive, Aleene's Tack It Over and Over, 5.0 mil was applied to the strip of PET using a drawdown Meyer bar. After drying for 6 hours, a strip of silicone paper release layer was applied to the adhesive layer for handling.

[0068] The aforementioned strip was laid down with the adhesive side facing down. A soft touch coating, Decoart Soft Touch Varnish, was applied via a 5.0 mil drawdown Meyer bar. The coating was applied such that the edges of the entire unit were completely covered. The coating was allowed to dry in air and cure for 24 hours. The support device had a smooth, soft touch feel.

[0069] The release layer was removed and two versions of the above support device were applied to the two inside sides of a button down dress shirt, within 0.5 cm of the shirt placket. The top end of the device extended from 2 cm below the level of the top button or button slit. The placket was well supported and gave the shirt an organized appearance without the two top buttons buttoned. The inner surface was soft to the touch and created minimal irritation to the user.

Example 3

[0070] A 20 mil sheet of Cellulose Acetate was cut into a 1.5 cm by 15.0 cm strip. Both ends of the strip were cut to create a rounded end. A strip of double sided, removable tape, available for example from 3M, of similar dimensions was applied to the strip of Cellulose Acetate. A strip of release layer remained on the adhesive side of the plastic strip.

[0071] The release layer was removed and two versions of the above support device were applied to the two inside sides of a button down dress shirt, within 0.5 cm of the shirt placket. The top end of the device extended from 2 cm below the level of the top button or button slit. The placket was well supported and gave the shirt an organized appearance without the two top buttons buttoned.

Example 4

[0072] A 20 mil sheet of Cellulose Acetate was cut into a 1.5 cm by 15.0 cm strip. Both ends of the strip were cut to create a rounded end. A strip of double sided, removable tape, available for example from 3M, of similar dimensions was applied to the strip of Cellulose Acetate. A strip of release layer remained on the adhesive side of the plastic strip.

[0073] The aforementioned strip was laid down with the adhesive side facing down. A soft touch coating, Decoart Soft Touch Varnish, was applied via a 5.0 mil drawdown Meyer bar. The coating was applied such that the edges of the entire unit were completely covered. The coating was allowed to dry in air and cure for 24 hours. The support device had a smooth, soft touch feel. The release layer was removed and two versions of the above support device were applied to the two inside sides of a button down dress shirt, within 0.5 cm of the shirt placket. The top end of the device extended from 2 cm below the level of the top button or button slit. The placket was well supported and gave the shirt an organized appearance without the two top buttons buttoned. The inner surface was soft to the touch and created minimal irritation to the user.

[0074] These examples show the usefulness of the patent and a particular geometry is described as effective for providing support to a shirt front. However, the geometry of a device for this purpose can take on a different shape, dimensions or thicknesses. A version of this device can be envisioned as have a shape that matches the contour of a shirt or its opening to better provide support to that particular shirt or style.

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