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United States Patent Application 20070123148
Kind Code A1
Heer; Gill May 31, 2007

Adjustable garment system

Abstract

An undergarment system partially covering the upper torso of a wearer, configured to receive a plurality of interchangeable back portions is disclosed. Each back portion has connectors so that the back portions are interchangeable to alter the attributes of the undergarment. Preferably, the undergarment is a brassiere and the attributes include size, fabric type and color. Garment systems that have an undergarment and a plurality of attachable back straps in which the undergarment is configured to receive and retain a back strap that is distinct from every other back strap are also disclosed. In preferred embodiments an undergarment brassiere with at least two back strap attachment points, and a plurality of back straps, each of which is distinct from every other back strap is provided.


Inventors: Heer; Gill; (Columbus, OH)
Correspondence Address:
    Albert T. Keyack
    260 S. Broad Street
    Philadelphia
    PA
    19102
    US
Assignee: Lane Bryant Purchasing Corporation

Serial No.: 289793
Series Code: 11
Filed: November 30, 2005

Current U.S. Class: 450/77
Class at Publication: 450/077
International Class: A41C 3/00 20060101 A41C003/00


Claims



1. A retail garment system to be sold and worn as undergarments by a wearer comprising: an undergarment partially covering the upper torso of a wearer, configured to receive and retain at least one back portion; and a plurality of back portions, each comprising at least one back portion having connectors positioned at first and second ends of the back portion, each of said back portions being distinct from every other in one or more attributes; wherein back portions are interchangeable with another back portion to alter said attributes when one back portion is interchanged for another.

2. The garment system of claim 1, wherein said undergarment is a women's brassiere.

3. The garment system of claim 1, wherein one of said attributes is size.

4. The garment system of claim 1, wherein one of said attributes is fabric type.

5. The garment system of claim 1, wherein one of said attributes is color.

6. The garment system of claim 1, wherein the connectors are metal hooks.

7. The garment system of claim 1, wherein the connectors are molded plastic components.

8. The garment system of claim 1, wherein the connectors are hook and loop fabric connectors.

9. A retail garment system to be sold and worn as undergarments by a wearer comprising an undergarment and at least two attachable back straps, wherein: the undergarment partially covers the upper torso of a wearer, and configured to receive and retain at least one back strap; and each of said back straps comprises at least one strap having first and second back strap connectors positioned at first and second ends of said strap, said back strap connectors removably attachable to back strap attachment points on said undergarment, each of said back straps distinct from every other back strap, wherein a back strap from one of said plurality of back straps is interchangeable with at least a second distinct back strap chosen from of said at least two back straps.

10. The garment system of claim 9 wherein the back straps are distinct in at least one of the following characteristic: color, material, back strap width and back strap length.

11. The garment system of claim 9 wherein said plurality of back straps comprises at least one back strap comprising flat lengths of fabric having a width in the range of 0.5 inch to 1.0 inch.

12. The garment system of claim 9 wherein said plurality of back straps comprises at least one back strap having back straps comprising flat lengths of fabric having a width in the range of 1.0 inch to 3.0 inches.

13. The garment system of claim 9 wherein said plurality of back straps comprises at least one back strap system having back straps comprised of a sheer material.

14. The garment system of claim 9 wherein said plurality of back straps comprises at least one back strap system having back straps each comprising multiple strands of material connected together at first and second ends thereof.

15. A brassiere garment system to be sold and worn as undergarments by a wearer comprising: an undergarment brassiere having at least two back strap attachment points; and a plurality of back straps, each of said back straps comprising first and second back strap connectors positioned at first and second ends of said back straps, said back strap connectors removably attachable to said back strap attachment points on said brassiere, each of said back straps distinct from a every other back strap, wherein a first back strap is interchangeable with a distinct second back strap to provide a distinct exposed portion of said brassiere when worn in conjunction with an outer garment.

16. The brassiere garment system of claim 15, wherein the first back strap is a different length than the second back strap.

17. The brassiere garment system of claim 15, wherein the first back strap is a different width than the second back strap.

18. The brassiere garment system of claim 15, wherein the first back strap is a different material than the second back strap.

19. The brassiere garment system of claim 15, wherein the first back strap is a different color than the second back strap.
Description



FIELD OF THE INVENTION

[0001] The present invention relates to garment construction, and more specifically relates to the construction of brassieres or bras.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0002] Modem brassieres were first introduced about one hundred years ago to replace corsets, which had been in use from the late 16.sup.th century. Corsets disappeared during World War I when the U.S. War Industries Board called on women to stop buying them after it was determined that the steel used to stiffen them amounted to 28,000 tons. Modem bra sizing by cup size appeared in about in 1928.

[0003] Numerous improvements to brassieres have been developed in the ensuing time. For example, improvements have been made to permit bras to be reconfigured to accommodate wearing beneath different types of outer garments. U.S. Pat. No. 3,311,112 discloses a bra that has a front section and an adjustable band that stretches across the wearer's back. The cups of this bra can be interchanged for different sizes. A more modem variation is shown in U.S. Pat. No. 6,857,936, which discloses a modular garment/bra "system." This patent also recognizes that a bra may function as an outer garment or may be purposely visible.

[0004] The fit of a bra is highly personalized and requires accommodating numerous body types. Prior art bras disclose straps that are adjustable by sliding buckles and by moving the attachment points between the bra and the strap in finite increments by hooks or the like, in a manner similar to moving the buckle of a belt from hole to hole. U.S. Pat. No. 6,336,839 is directed to a "fitment apparatus" that lets a woman try on different combinations of cups and straps to arrive at size to be used when purchasing a conventional bra. The structure disclosed, provides the ability to try different cup sizes in a modular fashion and uses markings on the back strap to provide a midriff measurement.

[0005] None of these patents placed emphasis on the adjustability of the back strap by interchanging it, but instead provided the above noted buckles for sliding straps or finite adjustments to the cups and shoulder straps.

[0006] There exists, therefore, a long felt yet unmet need to provide a bra that has an adjustable back to accommodate different torsos separate and apart form the ability to adjust for cup size. Moreover, it would be desirable to alter the appearance of the back strap of a bra for aesthetic reasons, such as coordinating with other garments.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0007] Accordingly, it has now been found that these and other shortcomings of the prior art are overcome by a garment system comprising a garment partially covering the upper torso of a wearer, configured to receive and retain at least one back portion. The system also includes a plurality of back portions, each comprising at least one back portion having connectors positioned at its first and second ends and being distinct from every other in one or more attributes. Thus, the back portions may be interchanged with another back portion to alter these attributes. Preferably, the garment is a brassiere and the attributes include size, fabric type and color. The connectors can be metal hooks, molded plastic components or hook and loop fabric connectors.

[0008] The present invention also relates to garment systems comprising an article of clothing and a plurality of attachable back straps, wherein the article of clothing partially covers the upper torso of a wearer, and is configured to receive and retain at least one back strap. Each back strap comprises at least one strap having first and second back strap connectors positioned at its ends to removably attach the back strap at attachment points on the article of clothing. In accordance with the invention, each back strap is distinct every other back strap, and a first back strap is interchangeable with a second distinct back strap. Preferably, the back strap is distinct in at least one of the following characteristics: color, material, back strap width and back strap length.

[0009] In preferred embodiments the present invention a brassiere garment system is provided that has a brassiere with at least two back strap attachment points, and a plurality of back straps, each of the back straps having first and second back strap connectors positioned at its ends to connect with the attachment points on the brassiere. Each of the back straps is distinct from every other back strap, so that a first back strap is interchangeable with a second back strap to provide a distinct exposed portion of the brassiere when worn in conjunction with an outer garment. Most preferably, the first back strap is a different length than the second back strap, although the first back strap could also be different width than the second back strap, or made of a different material than the second back strap, or be of a different color than the second back strap.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0010] FIG. 1 is a rear elevation view of a garment system made in accordance with the present invention;

[0011] FIG. 2 is a broken away portion of the garment system illustrated in FIG. 1 illustrating an alternate attachment system;

[0012] FIG. 3 is a broken away portion of the garment system illustrated in FIG. 1 illustrating an alternate attachment system; and

[0013] FIG. 4 is a broken away portion of the garment system illustrated in FIG. 1 illustrating an alternate back strap.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

[0014] Referring now to FIG. 1, an elevation view of a bra 100 made in accordance with the present invention is illustrated. In general, the bra 100 is comprised of a set of cups 101. The cups may be constructed of any material and suing any technique known in the art and may for example be padded, under wire or any combination of features commonly found in the art. Preferably, the cups 101 are a single assembly and terminate at two ends that have a set of attachment points 103 as explained in further detail below. In the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 1 the attachment points 103 are the conventional eyelets known in the art. In accordance with the present invention, the bra 100 further comprises a back strap 102 that has attachment points 104 at each of its ends. As will be readily appreciated, the strap attachment points 104 coordinate with the bra attachment points 103. Thus, as illustrated in FIG. 1, the strap attachment pints 104 are hooks that engage the bra attachment points 103 as known in the art.

[0015] In accordance with the present invention, the back strap 102 is made available in a number of variations. First, the consumer is presented with options as to the size of the back strap 102. The size refers to both length and width. Thus, by choosing different widths, a broader or narrower torso can be accommodated independent of cup size. The minor finite adjustments between the attachment points 103,104 further accommodate weight fluctuation, temperature and other comfort factors. Width can similarly be varied for comfort and aesthetics. Therefore, in one aspect of the present invention the wearer cannot choose an appropriate size back strap 102 in conjunction with a set of cups 101 and as a result the number of sliding buckles, straps and other functional pieces is minimized, resulting in a smooth back strap 102 as illustrated. Because the back strap 102 presents a hardware free surface, the bra of the present invention presents a better appearance. Additionally, the interchangeable nature of the back strap allows the facing fabric of the back strap to be varied, regardless of size. The "fabric" can be chosen from sheer, nearly invisible fabrics, to thick substantial fabrics in any variety of colors and constructions. The system disclosed therefore presents a back strap 102 that can be varied or adjusted in a number of attributes--size, color, construction, etc.

[0016] Further aspects of the present invention are illustrated in FIGS. 2-3. As seen in FIG. 2 the hook and eye attachment points 103, 104 are replaced by other structural elements, such as plastic connectors 203,204 which are known in the art. These elements or similar elements of any size or material are useful so long as they perform the function of attaching the back strap 102 to the bra 101. FIG. 3 shows yet another variation in which Velcro or similar hook and loop fabric fastening systems are used in lieu of discrete attachment devices.

[0017] As explained above, in addition to providing the ability to interchange back straps for varying sizes and fabrics, it is also possible to vary the overall construction of the back strap 102. Thus, for one example, the single back strap 102 shown in FIG. 1 is typically between 1.0-3.0 inches wide and can be replaced by a plurality of thin straps 402 that are only about 0.5-1.0 inches wide. Although the straps 402 are illustrated as parallel, it will be understood that these can be crisscrossed or in any of a number of configurations connecting the two ends of the bra 101.

[0018] It will be understood that the embodiments described herein are merely exemplary and that a person skilled in the art may make many variations and modifications without departing from the spirit and scope of the present invention. For instance, the various back straps exemplified herein can be expanded to include any type of material or construction. A person skilled in the art would be readily able to create many other types of bra systems that would permit the variability described in conjunction with the preferred embodiments. All such variations and modifications are intended to be included within the scope of the invention. Therefore, in order to ascertain the true scope of the present invention, reference should be made to the appended claims.

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