Patent application title: HAT HAVING AN ADJUSTABLE CLOSURE
Ryan Clarke (Traverse City, MI, US)
CLARKE-FARLEY INVESTMENTS, LLC
IPC8 Class: AA41D100FI
Class name: Apparel body garments
Publication date: 2010-10-21
Patent application number: 20100263103
A hat formed of a casing having a pliable wire incorporated at its base
opening to provide an adjustable snug fit. The wire may be bent to an
appropriate configuration by the user to draw the base opening close to
the neck. Hook ends of the wire may be used as grasping points or may be
latched together beneath the user's chin. Also, a single or dual cords
may be used with the wire to aid in its bending to a desired
configuration. The single cord may be incorporated into the face opening
of the hat to provide a restriction to the face opening under draw
control by the wearer, and also be used to wrap about the wire ends to
manipulate the configuration of the wire.
1. A hat for a wearer, comprising:a casing formed of a flexible
material;said casing having an opening of a size for accepting the head
of a wearer into the casing, said opening defined by at least one edge of
said casing and said edge defining the lower extremity of the hat and at
least partially encircling the neck of the wearer, when the hat is worn;a
pliable wire structurally incorporated into said casing and located along
the entire length of said edge, said wire configurable relative to the
neck of the wearer when the hat is worn to provide an open position of
said casing in which said edge is spaced outwardly from the neck of the
wearer, and a closed position of the casing in which said edge is close
against the neck of the wearer, said wire terminating in ends providing a
graspable area to the wearer to grasp and move the wire causing the
casing to move into said open and said closed positions; anda pair of
string cords, each of said string cords attached to one of said ends,
said cords tieable together to retain said casing in said closed
2. The hat of claim 1, wherein said pliable wire is made from copper.
3. An article of clothing, comprising:a casing formed of a flexible material;said casing having an opening of a size for accepting a portion of the anatomy of the wearer, said opening defined by at least one linear edge of said casing;a pliable wire structurally incorporated into said casing and located along said edge, said wire configurable relative to said portion of the wearer when the casing is worn to provide an open position of said casing in which said edge is spaced outwardly from the wearer, and a closed position of the casing in which said edge is close against the wearer, said wire terminating in ends spaced from the edge of the casing and providing a graspable area to the wearer to grasp and move the wire causing the casing to move into said open and said closed position.
4. An article according to claim 3 and further including a pair of string cords, each of said string cords attached to one of said ends, said cords tieable together to hold said ends together and to retain said casing in said closed position.
5. An article according to claim 3, wherein the article is a top having said opening adapted for at least partially encircling a wearer's neck.
6. An article according to claim 3, wherein the article is a pair of pants having said opening adapted for at least partially encircling a wearer's waist.
FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH OR DEVELOPMENT
FIELD OF THE INVENTION
The present invention relates to a hat, or other clothing article, that provides a snug fit onto the wearer. More particularly, the invention relates a hat having a pliable wire at the base opening of the hat to provide an adjustable snug fit at the neck opening.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
A hat is typically adapted to fit the wearer's body in order to prevent inadvertent removal or, in the case of cold-weather or for protection, to prevent undesirable infiltration. Because people vary in size and shape, hats are available in numerous discrete sizes. However, persons who require sizes outside or even in between available sizes might not be able to obtain an optimal fit from among the available sizes. Moreover, many articles of clothing, particularly hats, gloves and socks, are designed to fit a wider population of wearers with relatively few (if any) choices in size. Such broad sizing versatility leads to a less than a perfect fit in the majority of cases. Imperfect fitting articles are particularly undesirable in the case of cold-weather or protective articles meant to protect the wearer from the environment.
While custom tailored clothing articles can provide a more optimal fit, they are generally more expensive than so-called "off-the-rack" (i.e., non-tailored) articles. Moreover, the size of custom tailored articles is not adjustable and the articles must be re-tailored if the wearer's size changes (such as due to weight gain or loss or due to growth, as in the case of a child). Also, custom tailored articles cannot easily be shared between wearers who differ in size.
To provide a snug fit that is adjustable, elastic bands are sometimes integrated into clothing articles, as shown in U.S. Pat. No. 6,330,721 to Wallace et al. and U.S. Pat. No. 6,339,884 to Merkley. However, such bands can be uncomfortable for many wearers because the tightness of the band cannot be adjusted and the elastic can excessively impinge on the underlying flesh. Moreover, the elastic band can degrade over time (particularly with extensive use or repeated washings of the article), eventually rendering the article un-wearable.
Other attempts to provide an adjustable snug fit include draw-strings, such as disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 6,704,940 to Convery et al., buckled straps, such as disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 5,915,535 to Henrekin-Jordan and in U.S. Pat. No. 6,941,581 B1, incrementally spaced snaps, and hook and loop fasteners sold under the trademark Velcro®, such as disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 5,724,676 to Amendolia et al. A disadvantage of employing these types of adjustments is that they can be cumbersome to operate while the wearer has gloves on (or if the wearer is arthritic) and articles employing them are not as quickly donned, removed, or adjusted as elastic band articles.
Yet other attempts to provide snug fit articles that are quickly donned, removed, or adjusted include providing resilient plastic or metal hoops to secure the articles. After stretched, such as to fit around a wearer's anatomy, hoops made of materials such as coiled plastic or metal spring wire automatically constrict to their coiled shape to provide such a pseudo-elastic fit around the wearer's anatomy. Such attempts are disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 6,859,938 B1 to Niski et al., U.S. Pat. No. 3,471,867 to Kirchhoff, U.S. Pat. No. 2,675,551 to Ser Vaas, U.S. Pat. No. 548,738 to Ballard, and U.S. Pat. No. 392,676 to Jacoby. However, as explained in U.S. Pat. No. 2,675,551 to Ser Vass, such hoops suffer from the same limitations as elastic in that, because the hoop seeks to constrict until it returns to its predisposed shape, its tightness cannot be adjusted and it can be overly tight and uncomfortable for many wearers.
For the foregoing reasons, it would be desirable to have adjustable fit clothing articles where the tightness of the fit can be adjusted quickly and easily and where the tightness does not degrade over time.
BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
A hat (or other article of clothing) has a pliable wire that is incorporated within the hat to provide a manually selective snug fit. In an embodiment, a pliable wire is structurally incorporated into a hem, or internal space, along the base opening of a hat with at least one end of the wire secured to the hat so that the wire may be held in location and then drawn or bent tight around the wearer's anatomy. The pliable wire of the preferred embodiment is made from a material, such as copper, that is sufficiently malleable to be bent and shaped around the wearer's neck to provide the desired snugness of fit and yet is sufficiently rigid to maintain its shape until the wire is purposefully loosened by action of the wearer.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF SEVERAL VIEWS OF THE DRAWINGS
FIG. 1 is front view of a winter hat embodiment of the present invention.
FIG. 1A is side view of the winter hat of FIG. 1.
FIG. 2 is an enlarged partial view of the base area of the winter hat of FIG. 1 taken along Section A-A.
FIG. 2A is an enlarged partial view similar to FIG. 2, of another embodiment of the winter hat of FIG. 1.
FIG. 3 is a front view of the winter hat of FIG. 1 in its open position.
FIG. 4 is a front view of the winter hat of FIG. 1 in its closed position.
FIG. 5 is a front perspective view of the winter hat of FIG. 1 having a pair of tie cords.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT
Referring to FIG. 1, a hat 11 includes a fabric casing 13 of a size to fit over and partially cover the user's head. Casing 13 is shaped as a receptacle for accepting or encasing the user's head, and is made from fabric or a flexible material.
Casing 13 has an opening 15 defined by a lower base edge 17 and a front facing edge 19. Edge 17 is formed at the base of the hat for location about the wearer's neck when the hat is worn. Edge 17 is linear, defining a curved line, or other shapes, surrounding the user's neck. While edge 17 is shown in FIG. 1 as a curved line, FIG. 1A shows edge 17 having a shape to provide for ear flaps 20.
Edge 19 defines the front opening of the hat 11 through which the user's face may appear when the hat is worn. Edge 19 is linear as shown in FIG. 1, or may be a shaped line as shown in FIG. 1A. Edge 19 is preferably connected to edge 17 at points 24, 26.
A pliable wire 21 of cylindrical cross-sectional shape (e.g. 1/16 inch in diameter) is provided within casing 13 and located or locatable along the entire length of edge 17. Wire 21 is freely bendable and repeatably bendable without breaking. Once bent to a configuration, the wire is stiff enough to impede its unbending by wind or other weather conditions, but allows manual rebending by the user.
As shown in FIG. 2, fabric casing 13 may be folded upwardly inside of the base of hat 11 and stitched along line 18 so as to provide a channel 23. Channel 23 has an internal diameter, or cross section, large enough to receive and encase wire 21. Wire 21 preferably is hidden from view along channel 23. Wire 21 is made from copper, but other similarly pliable materials may be used. Wire 21 is thus structurally incorporated into the casing.
Means other than a discrete channel 23 may be used to incorporate wire 21 into casing 13, such that bending and configuring of wire 21 causes edge 17 to be configured in a shape relative to the wearer's neck. For example, an internal line 22 (FIG. 2A) may be provided inside the entirety of the hat providing a liner space 29. Wire 21 may be located in the liner space 29, i.e., the space between the liner 22 and the outer casing 13.
Each of the two ends 25, 27 of wire 21 may be formed into the shape of a hook, for example, having a shape which prevents wire ends 25, 27 from sliding back into channel 23 of the casing, or back into the line space 29. The hooks may be bent to grasp the material of the casing or its liner, or both, or the hat material may be sewn onto the hooks, so as to secure the hooks at the area of the two lower points 24, 26 allowing the remainder of the wire to float in the space 29 between internal liner 22 and outer casing 13. This allows the wire to be maneuvered vertically within the space 29 while still held at points 24, 26 stitch line 18 (FIG. 2) would constrain such movement, but the liner of FIG. 2A would allow for it.
In addition, hook ends 25, 27 provide the wearer with a convenient point to grasp wire 21 to pull the hat into place on the wearer's head and to bend the wire around the wearer's neck and to adjust its shape and tension closely against the user's neck. It is understood that the ends 25, 27 of wire 21 may be formed into a shape other than a hook, or can have a fixture attached (permanently or removably) at or near ends 25, 27 of wire 21 that is larger than the diameter of the openings into channel 23 to prevent the wire ends from sliding back into channel 23, or back into liner space 29, and to provide the wearer with a convenient grasping point.
In addition, ends 25, 27 of wire 21 may instead include a pair of mateable or latchable hooks (not shown) that can engage together with one another in a holding latched arrangement. The user then may grasp the hooks and engage them beneath the wearer's chin to hold the wire in a particular configuration.
Referring to FIG. 3, casing 13 is shown in an open position in which wire 21 along edge 17 is in a spread out configuration making the base opening defined by edge 17 large in area. This enlarged base opening makes the hat more easily received onto the user's head when the hat is placed into a wearing position or makes the hat more easily removable from the wearer's head. The user/wearer may grasp ends 25, 27 of the wire and spread the two ends apart to enlarge the base opening. After the user spreads ends 25, 27, the user may pull the hat onto his/her head and next pull ends 25, 27 inwardly causing edge 17 to be drawn closely below the ears of the wearer, as seen in FIG. 1A, and against the wearer's neck. The ears are thus covered, and flaps 20 are held in place.
Once the hat is put on the user, the base opening defined by edge 17 may be reconfigured inwardly by wire 21 to a shape to place casing 13 in a closed position about the neck, as shown in FIG. 4. That is, edge 17 may be configured to the neck and head by bending wire 21 first to an open configuration shown in FIG. 3, and thereafter edge 17 may be configured by bending wire 21 to a closed configuration as shown in FIG. 4. As the user pulls ends 25, 27 together, the back side of the hat, and wire 21, rests against the back of the user's neck (or the top of the user's head) providing a pivot point of bending for the wire. The two mateable hooks may be connected together when the wire is in the closed configuration as shown in FIG. 4.
Referring to FIG. 5, a pair of linear strings or cords 31, 33, formed from fabric, yarn, rope or the like, may be connected (e.g., tied or clipped) to ends 25, 27 of wire 21. In such an embodiment, hooks at the ends 25, 27 may or may not be used. The user may grasp cords 31, 33 when fitting the hat into position upon the user's head and use the cords to provide leverage to open the wire to the position shown in FIG. 3. Thereafter, cords 31, 33 may be used to pull or maneuver wire 21 into a closed configuration of FIG. 4. Thereafter, the cords may be tied together to hold ends 25, 27 closed together, and thus hold the configuration of the wire into the closed position of FIG. 4. A fob 37 maybe secured at each end of cords 31, 33.
In addition, cords 31, 33 may be one continuous cord that is located in a channel similar to channel 23 and with the channel located along the entire length of edge 19. In such an embodiment, the one continuous cord is not fixed to ends 25, 27 of the wire, but is freely disposed for sliding movement within the channel along edge 19. The one continuous cord may be drawn tight and tied together, and thus restrict or close the opening around the user's face formed by edge 19, as edge 19 is drawn closed.
As will suggest itself, a clothing article other than hat 11 may be snuggly fitted to the wearer by use of wire 21. For example, wire 21 may be lodged in a shirt collar opening for accepting the neck of a wearer, or in a sleeve opening for accepting the arm of a wearer, or a waist opening for accepting the waist of a wearer, or in a glove opening to accept the wrist of the wearer, or in an ankle opening of a sock for accepting the ankle of the wearer. The ends of wire 21 may be formed into hooks or have a fixture to prevent wire 21 from sliding out of the casing of the clothing article and provide the wearer with a convenient place to grasp wire 21 and to adjust the wire's configuration and tension.
While particular steps, elements, embodiments and applications of the present invention have been shown and described, it will be understood, of course, that the invention is not limited thereto since modifications can be made by persons skilled in the art, particularly in light of the foregoing teachings. It is therefore contemplated by the appended claims to cover such modifications as incorporate those steps or elements that come within the scope of the present invention.
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