FIELD OF THE INVENTION
The present application is a continuation of application Ser. No. 10/901,944, filed on Jul. 30, 2004, which claim priority from U.S. Provisional Application Ser. No. 60/492,505, filed on Aug. 5, 2003.
- BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
This invention relates to garments, and, more particularly, to a device for avoiding the entanglement of garments between heels and backless shoes during movement.
Whether practical or fashionable, garments are available in a variety of forms. Blouses, skirts, pants, jackets, dresses, and shorts are among the selections one may choose when dressing for the day. Even among pants, many options exist, from chinos to jeans, Capri's to bell-bottoms, hip-huggers to high-waisted, boot-cut to straight-legged, and so on.
One limitation to the myriad of available choices in clothing selection is fit. A poorly fitting garment is not only unflattering, it may be impractical. A long skirt on a person with short stature may, for example, cause the person to trip while walking. Certainly, the ability to walk with ease and comfort is desirable when fitting ones clothes.
What constitutes a proper fit may depend on the accessories one wears. A certain pair of pants may fit well when worn with high heels, but need to be cuffed when worn with penny loafers.
Shoes present a particular problem for some pants wearers. When a wearer of long pants is walking in backless shoes, such as strapless sandals, thongs, or mules, the lower leg of the pants fabric may unintentionally slip between the shoe and the heel of the walker when the heel separates from the shoe. When the heel again makes contact with the shoe, the pants may be pulled down somewhat toward the foot, rather than resting against the leg. The walker awkwardly removes the bottom of the pants leg from between the heel and the shoe, hoping the mishap can be avoided in succeeding steps. A similar accident may occur when simultaneously wearing backless shoes with very long skirts.
- SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
Thus, there is a continuing need for a way to keep long pants (or skirts) from being disposed beneath ones feet during wear.
In accordance with the embodiments described herein, a garment accessory is disclosed for preventing the fabric of a pair of pants or a skirt from being entangled between the heel and shoe sole during movement, such as walking. The garment accessory comprises a portion of material upon which an adhesive strip is affixed. The adhesive strip is covered with a removable covering, such as wax paper, protecting the exposed side of the adhesive until such time as the garment accessory is to be used.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
Upon removal of the covering, the garment accessory is affixed to the base of a pants or skirt leg, on the back and inside portion of the pants, at the region closest to the heel. The size of the garment accessory may vary, but is intended to stiffen the region of the pants or skirt around the heel. The garment accessory provides temporary stiffness to the pants region, minimizing the possibility that the pants will become entangled between the heel and the backless shoes during movement. When the pants are removed, the garment accessory may be discarded.
FIG. 1 is a diagram of a pair of pants upon which a garment accessory is affixed, according to one embodiment of the invention;
FIG. 2 is a detailed diagram of the garment accessory of FIG. 1, according to one embodiment of the invention;
FIG. 3 is a perspective view of the garment accessory of FIG. 1, according to one embodiment of the invention;
FIG. 4 is a diagram of a long skirt upon which a garment accessory is affixed, according to one embodiment of the invention;
FIG. 5 is a perspective view of the garment accessory of FIG. 1 being worn by a woman wearing pants, according to one embodiment of the invention; and
FIG. 6 is a perspective view of the garment accessory of FIG. 1 being worn by a woman wearing a long skirt, according to one embodiment of the invention.
In the following detailed description, reference is made to the accompanying drawings, which show by way of illustration specific embodiments in which the invention may be practiced. However, it is to be understood that other embodiments will become apparent to those of ordinary skill in the art upon reading this disclosure. The following detailed description is, therefore, not to be construed in a limiting sense, as the scope of the present invention is defined by the claims.
Referring to FIGS. 1-4, a garment accessory 50 is depicted, according to one embodiments of the invention. In FIG. 1, a back view of pair of pants 20 is depicted, having legs 10A and 10B, in which garment accessory 50A and 50B (collectively, garment accessories 50) are affixed to the inside of the back of the legs 10A and 10B, respectively. The garment accessories 50 are depicted using dotted lines, to indicate their invisibility to an observer, as the garment accessories 50 are affixed to the inside of the pants garment.
In the side view of FIG. 2, the garment accessory 50 is shown. The garment accessory 50 includes a support portion 32, an adhesive strip 30, and a covering 60. The adhesive strip 30 has two-sided adhesion, such that one side is permanently affixed to the support portion 32, while the other side is to be temporarily affixed to a garment, once the covering 60 is removed. Although a rectangular strip 30 is shown in FIG. 2, the garment accessory 50 can include any number of horizontal strips, vertical strips, block-shaped strips, circular strips, and so on, as long as temporary affixation to a fabric material is possible.
The support portion 32 of the garment accessory 50 is preferably made from a cardboard stock or other paper material that provides some stiffness, yet remains light enough to be affixable to the garment material without being noticed, either by the wearer of the garment or by a third party. The stiffness of the support portion 32 is greater than the stiffness of the material to which it is being affixed. However, the support portion 32 need not be very much stiffer than the garment material to be effective at preventing the garment from being disposed between the wearer's shoes and the wearer's heel.
Alternatively, the support portion 32 may be composed of a composite material that is both lightweight and somewhat stiff, and may include paper, plastic, or other materials. A variety of materials and combinations of materials, which are both lightweight and sufficiently stiff to provide support, may be suitable for the support portion 32 of the garment accessory 50.
In one embodiment, the garment accessory 50 is approximately the thickness of a business card. Preferably, the garment accessory 50 is disposed very close to the bottom of the pants leg, such as just above the hem. Depending on the thickness of the hem, and particularly where the hem tends to get caught between the heel and the shoe sole, however, the garment accessory 50 can be disposed upon the hem as well. Preferably, the garment accessory remains invisible to others from the outside of the pants, and is unnoticed by the wearer of the garment.
The garment accessory 50 is self-adhesive. An adhesive material, such as tape or glue, is applied to the garment accessory 50 during manufacture, to form the adhesive strip 30. One side of the adhesive strip is permanently affixed to the support portion 32. The other side of the strip is pressure-sensitive, such that, upon removing the covering 60, the support portion 32 can readily be affixed to a fabric by minimally pressing the support portion 32 against the fabric, with the exposed strip 30 making contact with the fabric of the garment.
The covering 60 protects the adhesive strip 30 until the garment accessory 50 is ready to be used. The covering 60 may be a wax paper material and may be opaque or transparent. The covering 60 may include text or graphics instructions for using the garment accessory, or may feature trademarks or company logos, and so on. Since the garment accessory 50 is not externally visible when worn, it may also include instructions, company logos, and the like.
Once the covering 60 is removed, the garment accessory 50A may be affixed to the bottom or near to the bottom of the pants leg 10A (FIG. 1). A second garment accessory 50B is affixed in the same location of the other pants leg 10B. Once the garment accessories 50 are in place, the pants wearer can accessorize with backless shoes, such as sandals or mules, without worry that pants leg fabric will “ride up” between the heel of the foot and the shoe.
While the garment accessory 50 is preferably a single-use product, multiple uses of the accessory may be possible, depending on how effectively the adhesive strip 30 is able to re-affix to the garment fabric after removal. Where the garment accessory 50 is improperly positioned on the pants leg, for example, the accessory may be removed and repositioned for a more strategic fit. The stickiness of the adhesive strip 30 may diminish following repeated usage of the garment accessory, since some of the fabric material may be deposited on the adhesive strip after each use. After the pants are removed (or when different shoes are to be worn), the garment accessories can be removed and disposed of.
The size of the garment accessory 50 may vary. In one embodiment, the garment accessory 50 is approximately two inches high, and its width extends from the outside of the pants leg (e.g., the outside seam) to the inside of the pants leg (e.g., the inside seam). Since pants sizes vary greatly, even within a single pants size, the garment accessory 50 may be available in multiple sizes, such as Small, Medium, and Large, may track pants sizes, such as 0, 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, or may track pants styles, such as bellbottoms, straight-leg, and so on. Further, the garment accessory 50 may be color-coded, to distinguish between sizes, for example, since the accessory is not externally visible during wearing.
As another option, the garment accessory 50 may be manufactured in a single large size, such that it may be cut to a size suitable for all possible uses. In such an embodiment, the garment accessory 50 may include instructions for cutting the accessory to the desired size, and may also include gridlines imprinted on either the support portion 32 or on the covering 60, to facilitate the proper cutting of the accessory. By allowing the purchaser to customize the single-size garment accessory, the accessory is readily adaptable to a number of different and possibly atypical uses. A single-sized garment accessory may be desirable for use with unusually shaped pants legs, such as extreme flares, party costumes, and other non-standard garments. Further, by allowing the purchaser to customize the garment accessory to the unique garment, a perfect fit of the accessory can be achieved, ensuring that the garment accessory will function as intended.
The garment accessory 50 is flexible. In the perspective view of FIG. 3, the garment accessory 50 is shown to have some bending quality, so as to substantially fit to the shape of the garment when affixed thereto. Preferably, a casual observer will not notice that the garment accessory 50 is in place inside the pants.
The garment accessory can also be affixed to the inside of long skirts. In FIG. 4, for example, a garment accessory 50C is affixed to the inside of a long skirt 40. The garment accessory 50C is somewhat wider in length than the garment accessories 50A and 50B that are affixed to pants legs (FIG. 1). As an alternative, the two garment accessories 50A and 50B can be affixed, side by side, to the bottom of the skirt 40, so as to sufficiently stiffen the skirt fabric near the heels and shoes. Whether inside a skirt or pants, once the garment accessory is in place, undesirable entanglement between the garment fabric and the shoes is avoided.
In FIGS. 5 and 6, perspective views of a woman wearing pants 10 and a skirt 40, respectively, are depicted. In FIG. 5, the garment accessories 50A and 50B are worn close to the heel of shoes 34. Likewise, in FIG. 6, the garment accessory 50C, which extends laterally across the length of the skirt hem, is also affixed so as to be close to the heels of the shoes 34. The temporary stiffness provided by the garment accessory 50 helps to prevent the fabric of either garment from getting caught under the woman's heels. Once the clothing is removed, the garment accessory can be disposed of.
The garment accessory 50 can be affixed to the inside of durable pants or skirts, such as blue jeans and corduroys, as well as lightweight materials, such as cotton blends, rayon, and spandex-blended pants and skirts. The garment accessory 50 is lightweight enough to remain affixed to the fabric during normal daily wear, active wear, and night-time wear, yet remain invisible from the outside of the garment.
While the garment accessory 50 prevents clothing, such as jeans and long skirts, from getting caught between the heal of the clothes wearer and his/her shoes, the garment accessory 50 can be used to prevent the clothing item from slipping under the heel when walking with bare feet as well.
While the invention has been described with respect to a limited number of embodiments, those skilled in the art will appreciate numerous modifications and variations therefrom. It is intended that the appended claims cover all such modifications and variations as fall within the true spirit and scope of the invention.