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Publication numberUS20090049583 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 12/177,805
Publication dateFeb 26, 2009
Filing dateJul 22, 2008
Priority dateAug 20, 2007
Also published asUS20090049584
Publication number12177805, 177805, US 2009/0049583 A1, US 2009/049583 A1, US 20090049583 A1, US 20090049583A1, US 2009049583 A1, US 2009049583A1, US-A1-20090049583, US-A1-2009049583, US2009/0049583A1, US2009/049583A1, US20090049583 A1, US20090049583A1, US2009049583 A1, US2009049583A1
InventorsRachel Dawn Stones
Original AssigneeRachel Dawn Stones
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Clothing systems and methods
US 20090049583 A1
Abstract
A clothing system that may include a lower component of an article of clothing and one or more upper components of an article of clothing that may be sized and configured to be selectively and/or interchangeably connected to and disconnected from the lower component. For example, a first upper component may include a generally fixed waistband, and a second upper component may include an expandable maternity waistband. Desirably, a woman may connect the first upper component to the lower component to form an article of clothing that she may wear when not pregnant and/or during her first months of her pregnancy. The woman may later disconnect the first upper component from the lower component and then connect the second upper component to the lower component to form an article of clothing that she may wear during her latter months of her pregnancy and/or during her recovery from pregnancy.
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Claims(20)
1. A clothing system comprising:
a lower component of an article of clothing including at least one engaging portion; and
a plurality of upper components of an article of clothing, the plurality of upper components being sized and configured to be interchangeably connected to and disconnected from the lower component, the plurality of upper components comprising:
a first upper component of an article of clothing, the first upper component including:
an expandable maternity waistband; and
at least one engaging portion sized and configured to engage the at least one engaging portion of the lower component to create a first pair of pants that includes the expandable maternity waistband; and
a second upper component of an article of clothing, the second upper component including:
a second waistband; and
at least one engaging portion sized and configured to engage the at least one engaging portion of the lower component to create a second pair of pants that includes the second waistband;
the at least one engaging portion of the first upper component and the at least one engaging portion of the second upper component being sized and configured to interchangeably engage the at least one engaging portion of the lower component.
2. The clothing system as in claim 1, wherein the first upper component is sized and configured to be connected to the lower component along a generally under-the-belly connection line; and wherein the second upper component is sized and configured to be connected to the lower component along a generally under-the-belly connection line.
3. The clothing system as in claim 1, wherein the second waistband has a generally fixed configuration.
4. The clothing system as in claim 1, wherein the second waistband comprises an expandable maternity waistband.
5. A clothing system comprising:
a lower component of an article of clothing including at least one fastener member; and
a plurality of upper components of an article of clothing, the plurality of upper components being sized and configured to be interchangeably connected to and disconnected from the lower component, the plurality of upper components comprising:
a first upper component of an article of clothing, the first upper component including:
an expandable maternity waistband; and
at least one fastener member sized and configured to be connected to the at least one fastener member of the lower component to create a first article of clothing that includes the expandable maternity waistband;
a second upper component of an article of clothing, the second upper component including:
at least one fastener member sized and configured to be connected to the at least one fastener member of the lower component to create a second article of clothing; and
the at least one fastener member of the first upper component and the at least one fastener member of the second upper component being sized and configured to be interchangeably connected to and disconnected from the at least one fastener member of the lower component.
6. The clothing system as in claim 5, wherein the first upper component is sized and configured to be connected to the lower component along a generally under-the-belly connection line; and wherein the second upper component is sized and configured to be connected to the lower component along a generally under-the-belly connection line.
7. The clothing system as in claim 5, wherein the at least one fastener member of the first upper component comprises zipper teeth;
wherein the at least one fastener member of the second upper component comprises zipper teeth;
wherein the at least one fastener member of the lower component comprises zipper teeth;
wherein the zipper teeth of the lower component are sized and configured to engage the zipper teeth of the first upper component to create the first article of clothing that includes the expandable maternity waistband; and
wherein the zipper teeth of the lower component are sized and configured to engage the zipper teeth of the second upper component to create the second article of clothing.
8. The clothing system as in claim 7, wherein the first upper component further includes an edge having a seam finish;
wherein the lower component further includes a edge having a seam finish; and
wherein at least a portion of the edge of the lower component is sized and configured to, when the zipper teeth of the lower component engage the zipper teeth of the first upper component, abut at least a portion of the edge of the first upper component to at least substantially cover the engaged zipper teeth of the lower and the first upper components.
9. The clothing system as in claim 7, wherein the second upper component further includes an edge having a seam finish;
wherein the lower component further includes a edge having a seam finish; and
wherein at least a portion of the edge of the lower component is sized and configured to, when the zipper teeth of the lower component engage the zipper teeth of the second upper component, abut at least a portion of the edge of the second upper component to at least substantially cover the engaged zipper teeth of the lower and the second upper components.
10. The clothing system as in claim 7, wherein the first upper component further includes an edge;
wherein the lower component further includes a edge; and
wherein the edge of the lower component and the edge of the first upper component are sized and configured to, when the zipper teeth of the lower component engage the zipper teeth of the first upper component, at least partially overlap to at least substantially cover the engaged zipper teeth of the lower and the first upper components.
11. The clothing system as in claim 7, wherein the second upper component further includes an edge;
wherein the lower component further includes a edge; and
wherein the edge of the lower component and the edge of the second upper component are sized and configured to, when the zipper teeth of the lower component engage the zipper teeth of the second upper component, at least partially overlap to at least substantially cover the engaged zipper teeth of the lower and the second upper components.
12. The clothing system as in claim 5, wherein the at least one fastener member of the first upper component comprises a plurality of snap members;
wherein the at least one fastener member of the second upper component comprises a plurality of snap members;
wherein the at least one fastener member of the lower component comprises a plurality of snap members;
wherein the snap members of the lower component are sized and configured to engage the snap members of the first upper component to create the first article of clothing that includes the expandable maternity waistband; and
wherein the snap members of the lower component are sized and configured to engage the snap members of the second upper component to create the second article of clothing.
13. The clothing system as in claim 5, wherein the first article of clothing comprises a pair of pants that includes the lower component and the first upper component; and wherein the second article of clothing comprises a pair of pants that includes the lower component and the second upper component.
14. The clothing system as in claim 5, wherein the first article of clothing comprises a skirt that includes the lower component and the first upper component; and wherein the second article of clothing comprises a skirt that includes the lower component and the second upper component.
15. A clothing system comprising:
a lower component of an article of clothing including at least one fastener member; and
a first upper component of an article of clothing, the first upper component including:
an expandable maternity waistband; and
at least one fastener member sized and configured to be selectively connected to and disconnected from the at least one fastener member of the lower component to create a first article of clothing that includes the expandable maternity waistband.
16. The clothing system as in claim 15, wherein the first upper component is sized and configured to be connected to the lower component along a generally under-the-belly connection line.
17. The clothing system as in claim 15, wherein the expandable maternity waistband of the first upper component comprises a demi-panel maternity waistband.
18. The clothing system as in claim 15, wherein the expandable maternity waistband of the first upper component comprises a full-panel maternity waistband.
19. The clothing system as in claim 15, wherein the expandable maternity waistband of the first upper component comprises a hidden-panel maternity waistband.
20. The clothing system as in claim 15, wherein the expandable maternity waistband of the first upper component comprises a roll-panel maternity waistband.
Description
CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims priority to, and the benefit of, U.S. provisional patent application Ser. No. 60/956,849, filed Aug. 20, 2007 and entitled CLOTHING SYSTEMS AND METHODS, which is incorporated by reference in its entirety.

BACKGROUND

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention generally relates to clothing.

2. Background Technology

Women often wear maternity clothing during their pregnancies. Unfortunately, maternity clothing can be very expensive and is typically worn for only a few short months. Moreover, saving and reusing the maternity clothing to help spread the maternity clothing's cost over multiple pregnancies is typically not a good option given that the maternity clothing may be outdated at the time of the subsequent pregnancies.

SUMMARY

One aspect is an article of clothing, such as a pair of pants (such as, jeans, slacks, shorts, capris and the like), a skirt or other suitable article of clothing. The article of clothing may include an expandable portion, such as an expandable waistband. For example, the article of clothing may be an article of maternity clothing that may include an expandable waistband configured to expand to accommodate a pregnant woman's belly during pregnancy.

A further aspect is an article of clothing that may include an expandable portion that may be constructed from an elastically stretchable material. Desirably, the elastically stretchable material may be configured to help the expandable portion expand to accommodate a pregnant woman's belly during pregnancy. In addition, the elastically stretchable material may be configured to help provide a relatively snug and/or secure fit. Moreover, the elastically stretchable material may be sized and configured to provide a compression fit, which may help support her belly and/or back. Exemplary elastically stretchable materials may include stretchy knit, spandex (also referred to as “elastane”) and other elastically stretchable materials.

Another further aspect is an article of clothing that may include an expandable portion that may include a drawstring. Desirably, the drawstring may be configured to help the expandable portion expand to accommodate a pregnant woman's belly during pregnancy. In addition, the drawstring may be configured to help provide a relatively snug and/or secure fit.

Yet another further aspect is an article of clothing that may include an expandable portion that may include one or more elastic bands. Desirably, the elastic bands may be configured to help the expandable portion expand to accommodate a pregnant woman's belly during pregnancy. In addition, the elastic bands may be configured to help provide a relatively snug and/or secure fit.

Still another further aspect is an article of clothing that may include an expandable portion that may be sized and configured to be adjustably expanded. Desirably, the expandable portion may be adjustably expanded to accommodate a pregnant woman's belly during pregnancy. In addition, the expandable portion may be adjustably expanded to help provide a relatively snug and/or secure fit. Moreover, the expandable portion may be sized and configured to provide a compression fit, which may help support her belly and/or back.

Another aspect is an article of clothing that may include a first component and a second component. The second component may be sized and configured to be selectively connected to and disconnected from the first component. The first component may include a lower component of the article of clothing and the second component may include an upper component of the article of clothing. For instance, the article of clothing may comprise a pair of pants or a skirt; and the upper component may include all or at least a substantial portion of a waistband and may be sized and configured to be selectively connected to and disconnected from a lower component of the pants or skirt. In some embodiments, the upper component may include an expandable portion, such as an expandable waistband or other expandable portion.

A further aspect is an article of clothing that may include a first component and a second component. The first component may include an attachment portion, and the second component may include an attachment portion. The attachment portions of the first and second components may be sized and configured to be selectively connected to and disconnected from each other. The attachment portions may include, for example, at least a portion of one or more zippers, buttons, snaps, hooks, hook-and-loop fasteners (e.g. Velcro) and/or any other suitable means for connecting the first and second components.

Another further aspect is an article of clothing that may include a first component, a second component, and at least one belt loop. The second component may be sized and configured to be selectively connected to and disconnected from the first component. The belt loop may include a first end and a second end, and the second end may be generally fixedly connected to the second component, while the first end may be sized and configured to be selectively connected to and disconnected from the first component. The second end of the belt loop may be generally fixedly connected to the second component by using one or more stitches, one or more rivets or other suitable means. The first end of the belt loop may be sized and configured to be selectively connected to and disconnected from the first component using, for example, at least a portion of one or more zippers, buttons, snaps, hooks, hook-and-loop fasteners and/or any other suitable means

Yet another further aspect is an article of clothing that may include a first component and a second component that may be sized and configured to be selectively connected to and disconnected from the first component. If desired, when the first and second components are connected, the components' line of connection may be at least partially hidden and/or may form part of a design element of the article of clothing. For example, one or more seams sewn into the first component and/or the second component may be disposed proximate to and/or may cover all or at least a substantial portion of the components' line of connection. Also, one or more covers, such as flaps or other covers, may be disposed proximate to and/or may cover all or at least a substantial portion of the components' line of connection.

Still another further aspect is an article of clothing that may include a first component and a second component that may be sized and configured to be selectively connected to and disconnected from the first component along a line of connection. The line of connection may be sized and configured to be located at or near the hips of a person wearing the article of clothing. The line of connection may also be sized and configured to be located at or below the belly of a person wearing the article of clothing. For example, the person wearing the article of clothing may be a pregnant woman and the line of connection may be sized and configured to be located at or near her hips and/or at or below her belly. In particular, the second component may be sized and configured to be connected to first component along a generally under-the-belly connection line. The generally under-the-belly connection line may advantageously help an expandable maternity waistband of the upper component to accommodate the pregnant woman's belly as it expands during her pregnancy. In some embodiments, the connection line may, for example, be generally positioned within one, two, three or four inches of the hip joints (also referred to as the “acetabulofemoral joints”) of the woman. For instance, the connection line may be generally positioned at or below a height of four inches, three inches, two inches or one inch above the woman's hip joints. If desired, the connection line may be generally positioned at or below the woman's hip joints.

Another aspect is a clothing system that may include a first component and a plurality of components that are sized and configured to be interchangeably connected to the first component. In particular, the first component may include a lower component of an article of clothing, and the plurality of components may include a plurality of upper components that may be sized and configured to be selectively connected to and disconnected from the lower component. The upper components are preferably sized and configured to be interchangeably connected to the lower component. This may allow the lower component to be connected to a variety of different upper components. For example, a first upper component may include a generally fixed waistband, and a second upper component may include an expandable maternity waistband. Desirably, a woman may connect the first upper component to the lower component to form an article of clothing that she may wear when not pregnant and/or during her first months of her pregnancy. The woman may later disconnect the first upper component from the lower component and then connect the second upper component to the lower component to form an article of clothing that she may wear during her latter months of her pregnancy and/or during her recovery from pregnancy. Significantly, with the second upper component connected to the lower component, the expandable maternity waistband may expand to accommodate her belly during her pregnancy. After her pregnancy and/or her recovery, the woman may disconnect the second upper component from the lower component and then reconnect the first upper component to the lower component. Thus, by using various upper components, a lower component of an article of clothing may be used before, during and/or after pregnancy, which may help avoid some of the costs associated with maternity wardrobes. It will be appreciated that the first upper component does not require a generally fixed waistband and may include an expandable maternity waistband, and thus both the first and second upper components may include expandable maternity waistband. It will also be appreciated that the second upper component does not require an expandable maternity waistband and that the second upper component may include a generally fixed waistband, if desired. Thus, both the first and second upper components may include a generally fixed waistband, in some instances.

Yet another aspect is clothing system that may include a first set of upper components and a second set of one or more lower components. If desired, the upper components may be sized and configured to be interchangeably connected to any of the lower components to form various articles of clothing. In addition, the lower components may be sized and configured to be interchangeably connected to any of the upper components to form various articles of clothing.

Still another aspect is a clothing system that may include a lower component of an article of clothing and a plurality of upper components of an article of clothing. The lower component may include at least one engaging portion. The plurality of upper components may be sized and configured to be interchangeably connected to and disconnected from the lower component. The plurality of upper components that may include a first upper component of an article of clothing and a second upper component of an article of clothing. The first upper component may include an expandable maternity waistband and at least one engaging portion sized and configured to engage the at least one engaging portion of the lower component to create a first pair of pants that includes the expandable maternity waistband. The second upper component may include a second waistband and at least one engaging portion sized and configured to engage the at least one engaging portion of the lower component to create a second pair of pants that includes the second waistband. The at least one engaging portion of the first upper component and the at least one engaging portion of the second upper component may sized and configured to interchangeably engage the at least one engaging portion of the lower component. The first upper component may be sized and configured to be connected to the lower component along a generally under-the-belly connection line, and the second upper component may be sized and configured to be connected to the lower component along a generally under-the-belly connection line. The second waistband may have a generally fixed configuration. The second waistband may be an expandable maternity waistband.

Another aspect is a clothing system that may include a lower component of an article of clothing and a plurality of upper components of an article of clothing. The lower component may include at least one fastener member. The plurality of upper components may be sized and configured to be interchangeably connected to and disconnected from the lower component. The plurality of upper components may include a first upper component of an article of clothing and a second upper component of an article of clothing. The first upper component may include an expandable maternity waistband and at least one fastener member sized and configured to be connected to the at least one fastener member of the lower component to create a first article of clothing that includes the expandable maternity waistband. The second upper component may include at least one fastener member sized and configured to be connected to the at least one fastener member of the lower component to create a second article of clothing. The at least one fastener member of the first upper component and the at least one fastener member of the second upper component may be sized and configured to be interchangeably connected to and disconnected from the at least one fastener member of the lower component. The first upper component may be sized and configured to be connected to the lower component along a generally under-the-belly connection line, and the second upper component may be sized and configured to be connected to the lower component along a generally under-the-belly connection line. In some embodiments, the first article of clothing may be a pair of pants that includes the lower component and the first upper component, and the second article of clothing may be a pair of pants that includes the lower component and the second upper component. In some embodiments, the first article of clothing may be a skirt that includes the lower component and the first upper component, and the second article of clothing may be a skirt that includes the lower component and the second upper component.

A further aspect is the at least one fastener member of the first upper component may include zipper teeth, the at least one fastener member of the second upper component may include zipper teeth, and the at least one fastener member of the lower component may include zipper teeth. The zipper teeth of the lower component may be sized and configured to engage the zipper teeth of the first upper component to create a first article of clothing that includes a expandable maternity waistband, and the zipper teeth of the lower component are sized and configured to engage the zipper teeth of the second upper component to create a second article of clothing. In some embodiments, the first upper component may include an edge having a seam finish; the lower component may include a edge having a seam finish; and at least a portion of the edge of the lower component may be sized and configured to, when the zipper teeth of the lower component engage the zipper teeth of the first upper component, abut at least a portion of the edge of the first upper component to at least substantially cover the engaged zipper teeth of the lower and the first upper components. In some embodiments, the second upper component may include an edge having a seam finish; the lower component may include a edge having a seam finish; and at least a portion of the edge of the lower component is sized and configured to, when the zipper teeth of the lower component engage the zipper teeth of the second upper component, abut at least a portion of the edge of the second upper component to at least substantially cover the engaged zipper teeth of the lower and the second upper components. In some embodiments, the first upper component may include an edge; the lower component may include a edge; and the edge of the lower component and the edge of the first upper component may be sized and configured to, when the zipper teeth of the lower component engage the zipper teeth of the first upper component, at least partially overlap to at least substantially cover the engaged zipper teeth of the lower and the first upper components. In some embodiments, the second upper component may include an edge; the lower component may include a edge; and the edge of the lower component and the edge of the second upper component may be sized and configured to, when the zipper teeth of the lower component engage the zipper teeth of the second upper component, at least partially overlap to at least substantially cover the engaged zipper teeth of the lower and the second upper components.

Another further aspect is the at least one fastener member of the first upper component may include a plurality of snap members, the at least one fastener member of the second upper component may include a plurality of snap members, and the at least one fastener member of the lower component may include a plurality of snap members. The snap members of the lower component may be sized and configured to engage the snap members of the first upper component to create a first article of clothing that includes a expandable maternity waistband, and the snap members of the lower component may be sized and configured to engage the snap members of the second upper component to create a second article of clothing.

Yet another aspect is a clothing system that may include a lower component of an article of clothing and a first upper component of an article of clothing. The lower component may include at least one fastener member. The first upper component may include an expandable maternity waistband and at least one fastener member sized and configured to be selectively connected to and disconnected from the at least one fastener member of the lower component to create a first article of clothing that includes the expandable maternity waistband. The first upper component may be sized and configured to be connected to the lower component along a generally under-the-belly connection line. The expandable maternity waistband of the first upper component may be any suitable type of maternity waistband including, but not limited to, a demi-panel maternity waistband, a full-panel maternity waistband, a hidden-panel maternity waistband, a roll-panel maternity waistband, etc.

Still another aspect is a method of using a lower component of an article of clothing and a first upper component of an article of clothing. The method may include disconnecting the first upper component from the lower component. The first upper component may include an expandable maternity waistband and at least one fastener member sized and configured to be connected to and disconnected from at least one fastener member of the lower component. Disconnecting the first upper component from the lower component may include disconnecting the at least one fastener member of the first upper component from the at least one fastener member of the lower component. The first upper component may be sized and configured to be connected to the lower component along a generally under-the-belly connection line. The method may further include connecting a second upper component of an article of clothing to the lower component. The second upper component may include at least one fastener member sized and configured to be connected to and disconnected from the at least one fastener member of the lower component. Connecting a second upper component of an article of clothing to the lower component may include connecting the at least one fastener member of the second upper component to the at least one fastener member of the lower component. The second upper component may include a waistband.

Another aspect is a method of using a lower component of an article of clothing, a first upper component of an article of clothing and a second upper component of an article of clothing. The method may include (by a person) wearing a first article of clothing. The first article of clothing may include the lower component and the first upper component. The first upper component may be connected to the lower component along a first connection line. The lower component may include at least one fastener member. The first upper component may include an expandable maternity waistband and at least one fastener member connected to the at least one fastener member of the lower component. The method may also include disconnecting the first upper component from the lower component, wherein disconnecting the first upper component from the lower component includes disconnecting the at least one fastener member of the first upper component from the at least one fastener member of the lower component. The method may also include connecting the second upper component to the lower component to create a second article of clothing that includes the lower component and the second upper component. The second upper component may include at least one fastener member, wherein connecting the second upper component to the lower component comprises connecting the at least one fastener member of the second upper component to the at least one fastener member of the lower component. In some embodiments, wearing the first article of clothing may include wearing the first article of clothing with the first connection line generally positioned within four inches of the person's hip joints, wearing the first article of clothing with the first connection line generally positioned within three inches of the person's hip joints, wearing the first article of clothing with the first connection line generally positioned within two inches of the person's hip joints, and/or wearing the first article of clothing with the first connection line generally positioned within one inch of the person's hip joints. In some embodiments, wearing the first article of clothing may include wearing the first article of clothing with the first connection line generally positioned at or below a height of four inches above of the person's hip joints, wearing the first article of clothing with the first connection line generally positioned at or below a height of three inches above of the person's hip joints, wearing the first article of clothing with the first connection line generally positioned at or below a height of two inches above of the person's hip joints, wearing the first article of clothing with the first connection line generally positioned at and/or below a height of one inch above of the person's hip joints. In some embodiments, wearing the first article of clothing comprises wearing the first article of clothing with the first connection line generally positioned at or below the person's hip joints.

A further aspect is the first article of clothing may be a pair of pants that may include the lower component and the first upper component. The lower component may include a crotch of the pair of pants. In some embodiments, wearing the first article of clothing comprises wearing the first article of clothing with the first connection line generally positioned at or below a height of nine inches above of the crotch of the pair of pants, wearing the first article of clothing with the first connection line generally positioned at or below a height of eight inches above of the crotch of the pair of pants, wearing the first article of clothing with the first connection line generally positioned at or below a height of seven inches above of the crotch of the pair of pants, wearing the first article of clothing with the first connection line generally positioned at or below a height of six inches above of the crotch of the pair of pants, wearing the first article of clothing with the first connection line generally positioned at or below a height of five inches above of the crotch of the pair of pants, and/or wearing the first article of clothing with the first connection line generally positioned at or below a height of four inches above of the crotch of the pair of pants.

For purposes of summarizing, some aspects, advantages and features of a few of the embodiments of the invention have been described in this summary. Some embodiments of the invention may include some or all of these summarized aspects, advantages and features. However, not necessarily all of (or any of) these summarized aspects, advantages or features will be embodied in any particular embodiment of the invention. Thus, none of these summarized aspects, advantages and features are essential. Some of these summarized aspects, advantages and features and other aspects, advantages and features may become more fully apparent from the following detailed description and the appended claims.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The appended drawings contain figures of preferred embodiments to further clarify the above and other aspects, advantages and features. It will be appreciated that these drawings depict only preferred embodiments of the invention and are not intended to limit its scope. These preferred embodiments will be described and explained with additional specificity and detail through the use of the accompanying drawings in which:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of an exemplary clothing system, illustrating a plurality of upper components and a lower component;

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of a portion of the clothing system shown in FIG. 1, illustrating the lower component connected to one of the upper components;

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of a portion of the clothing system shown in FIG. 1, illustrating the lower component connected to another of the upper components;

FIG. 4 is a side view of a person wearing a portion of the clothing system shown in FIG. 3;

FIG. 5 is a perspective view of a person wearing a portion of the clothing system shown in FIG. 1, illustrating the lower component connected to yet another of the upper components;

FIG. 6 is an exploded view of a portion of the clothing system shown in FIG. 5;

FIG. 7 is an exploded view of a portion of another exemplary clothing system;

FIG. 8 is a perspective view of a portion of yet another exemplary clothing system, illustrating an exemplary elastic band;

FIG. 9 is a diagram illustrating an exemplary connection line for an article of clothing that includes an upper component and a lower component, illustrating the connection line positioned relative to the anatomy of a wearer of the article of clothing;

FIG. 10 is a front view of a pair of shorts, illustrating an upper component connected to a lower component; and

FIG. 11 is a front view of another pair of shorts, illustrating another upper component connected to the lower component shown in FIG. 10.

FIG. 12 is a front view of a skirt, illustrating an upper component connected to a lower component; and

FIG. 13 is a front view of another skirt, illustrating another upper component connected to the lower component shown in FIG. 12.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

As shown in the accompanying figures, a clothing system may include one or more components of an article of clothing, for example, a pair of pants (such as, jeans, slacks, shorts, capris and the like), a skirt or other suitable article of clothing. These components may be interconnected in a variety of different combinations to allow the article of clothing to have various styles or designs, configurations and/or functionality.

As shown in FIG. 1, a clothing system 100 may include a first component and one or more additional components that may be sized and configured to be selectively connected to and disconnected from the first component. Significantly, the additional components may be sized and configured to be interchangeably connected to and disconnected from the first component, if desired. For instance, as shown in FIG. 1, the clothing system 100 may include a lower component 102 of an article of clothing and one or more upper components 104, 106, 108 of an article of clothing that may be sized and configured to be selectively connected to and disconnected from the lower component 102. If desired, the upper components 104, 106, 108 may be sized and configured to be interchangeably connected to and disconnected from the lower component 102, which may allow the lower component 102 to be connected to a variety of different upper components.

For example, the upper component 104 may include a generally fixed waistband, and the upper components 106, 108 may include an expandable maternity waistband. Desirably, a woman may connect the upper component 104 to the lower component 102, as shown in FIG. 2, to form a pair of pants, a skirt or other article of clothing that she may wear when she is not pregnant and/or during the first months of her pregnancy.

The woman may later disconnect the upper component 104 from the lower component 102 and then connect the upper component 106 (as shown in FIGS. 3-4) or the upper component 108 (as shown in FIG. 5) to the lower component 102 to form a pair of pants, a skirt or other article of clothing that she may wear during her latter months of her pregnancy and/or during her recovery from pregnancy.

Significantly, with the upper component 106 or 108 connected to the lower component 102, the expandable maternity waistband of the upper component may expand to accommodate the woman's belly during her pregnancy. In some cases, the woman may want to switch between the upper components 106, 108, for example, if the upper components 106, 108 have different features (e.g. different types of maternity waistbands, with or without belt loops, etc.), different styles or designs, etc. In such cases, the woman could disconnect the upper component 106 from the lower component 102 and then connect the upper component 108 to the lower component 102 and/or could disconnect the upper component 108 from the lower component 102 and then connect the upper component 106 to the lower component 102.

After her pregnancy and/or her recovery, the woman may disconnect the upper component 106 or the upper component 108 from the lower component 102 and then connect the upper component 104 to the lower component 102. Thus, by using various upper components, a lower component of an article of clothing may be used before, during and/or after pregnancy, which may help avoid some of the costs associated with maternity wardrobes.

As mentioned above, the upper components 104, 106, 108 may be sized and configured to be selectively and/or interchangeably connected to and disconnected from the lower component 102 of an article of clothing. The upper components 104, 106, 108 may, for example, include attachment portions that may be sized and configured to be selectively and/or interchangeably connected to and disconnected from an attachment portion of the lower component 102, and the attachment portions of the upper and lower components may include at least a portion of one or more zippers, buttons, snaps, hooks, hook-and-loop fasteners (e.g. Velcro) and/or any other suitable means for connecting the upper and lower components.

In further detail, the lower component 102 may include one or more fastener members, and the upper components 104, 106, 108 may include one or more fastener members sized and configured to be selectively and/or interchangeably connected to and disconnected from the lower component's one or more fastener members. Exemplary fastener members may include, but are not limited to, zipper teeth of a zipper, snap members of a snap fastener, a hooked or looped portion of a hook-and-loop fastener, and other fastener members of other fasteners. To help selectively and/or interchangeably connect and disconnect the fastener members, the fastener members of the upper and lower components may include one or more engaging portions that may be sized and configured to engage each other.

For example, the lower component may include zipper teeth, and an upper component may include zipper teeth having portions sized and configured to engage portions of the lower component's zipper teeth. For instance, as shown in FIG. 6, the lower component may include zipper teeth 110, and the upper component 108 may include zipper teeth 112 having portions sized and configured to engage portions of the lower component's zipper teeth 110. Likewise, as shown in FIG. 7, a lower component 114 of an article of clothing may include zipper teeth 116, and an upper component 118 of an article of clothing may include zipper teeth 120 having portions sized and configured to engage portions of the lower component's zipper teeth 116.

Also, for example, the lower component may include at least one snap member with a lip or groove, and an upper component may include at least one snap member with a lip or groove sized and configured to engage the lip or groove of the lower component's snap member. For instance, as shown in FIG. 7, the lower component 114 may include snap members 122, and the upper component 118 may include snap members 124 having lips or grooves sized and configured to engage the lips or grooves of the snap members 122.

Moreover, for example, the lower component may include a hooked or looped portion of a hook-and-loop fastener, and an upper component may include a hooked or looped portion of a hook-and-loop fastener that is sized and configured to engage the lower component's hooked or looped portion.

In some embodiments, when an upper component 104, 106, 108 is connected to the lower component 102, the components' line of connection may be at least partially hidden and/or may form part of a design element of the article of clothing. For example, one or more seams sewn into the lower component 102 and/or the upper component 104, may be disposed proximate to and/or may cover all or at least a substantial portion of the components' line of connection. Also, one or more covers, such as flaps or other covers, may be disposed proximate to and/or may cover all or at least a substantial portion of the components' line of connection.

In further detail, an edge of the lower component 102 and an edge of the upper component 104, 106, 108 may—when the lower and upper components are connected—at least partially abut and/or overlap to cover all or at least a substantial portion of the components' line of connection. For example, when (as noted above) the lower and upper components include zipper teeth that engage each other, the edge of the lower component and the edge of the upper component may at least partially abut and/or overlap to cover all or at least a substantial portion of the engaged zipper teeth of the lower and the upper components. In addition, the edges of the lower and upper components may have a seam finish, for instance, when the lower and the upper components' edges and zipper teeth form part of an “open-end invisible zipper” type of zipper (also known as an “invisible separating zipper”). It will be appreciated, however, that the lower and upper components' zipper teeth and/or line of connection need not be hidden at all, for instance, as shown in FIG. 7. It will also be appreciated that an open-end invisible zipper is not required and that other types of zippers and/or fasteners may be used to selectively and/or interchangeably connect the lower and upper components.

As mentioned above, an upper component 106, 108 may include an expandable maternity waistband. The expandable maternity waistband preferably includes an expandable portion that may be sized and configured to be adjustably expanded to accommodate a pregnant woman's belly during pregnancy. In addition, the expandable portion may be adjustably expanded to help provide a relatively snug and/or secure fit on her belly. Significantly, an upper component 106, 108 may include any type of expandable maternity waistband, such as demi-panel maternity waistbands (also known as “under the belly” maternity waistbands), a full-panel maternity waistband (also known as “over the belly” maternity waistbands), a hidden-panel maternity waistband, a roll-panel maternity waistband, or any other type of maternity waistband. For example, as shown in FIG. 4, the upper component 106 may include a demi-panel maternity waistband 126, which may generally surround a portion of a pregnant woman's belly, may generally surround the circumference of a section of a pregnant woman's hips, torso and/or midsection, and/or may have a height that may be at least two, three, four or five inches and/or less than six inches, less than five inches or less than four inches. Also, for example, as shown in FIG. 5, the upper component 108 may include a full-panel maternity waistband 128, which may generally surround all or at least a portion of a pregnant woman's belly, may generally surround the circumference of a section of a pregnant woman's hips, torso and/or midsection, and/or may have a height that may be at least six inches, at least eight inches, at least ten inches, at least twelve inches, at least fourteen inches, at least sixteen inches, at least eighteen inches or more. The maternity waistbands 126, 128 may, however, have greater or lesser heights, if desired. Moreover, the maternity waistbands 126, 128 may be higher in their front than in their back, may be higher in their back than in their front, or may be generally the same in their front and backs depending, for example, upon the particular configuration of the maternity waistbands.

In some embodiments, the expandable maternity waistband of the upper component 106, 108 may include an expandable portion that may be constructed from an elastically stretchable material. For example, the upper component 108 may include a full-panel maternity waistband 128 constructed from an elastically stretchable material, as shown in FIG. 5, or a demi-panel or any other type of maternity waistband constructed from an elastically stretchable material. In some embodiments, the elastically stretchable material may be sized and configured to generally surround a portion of a pregnant woman's belly and/or generally surround the circumference of a section of a pregnant woman's hips, torso and/or midsection, and/or may have a height that may be at least two, three, four or five inches and/or less than six inches, less than five inches or less than four inches. Also, for example, the elastically stretchable material may be sized and configured to generally surround all or at least a portion of a pregnant woman's belly and/or generally surround the circumference of a section of a pregnant woman's hips, torso and/or midsection, and/or may have a height that may be at least six inches, at least eight inches, at least ten inches, at least twelve inches, at least fourteen inches, at least sixteen inches, at least eighteen inches or more. The elastically stretchable material, however, may have greater or lesser heights, if desired. Moreover, the elastically stretchable material need not surround an entire section of a pregnant woman's hips, torso and/or midsection and may, for example, extend along one or more discrete portions of a section of a pregnant woman's hips, torso and/or midsection, for instance, at the front of the section, at the rear of the section, at one or both sides of the section, or any combination thereof. Desirably, the elastically stretchable material may be configured to help the expandable portion expand to accommodate a pregnant woman's belly during pregnancy. In addition, the elastically stretchable material may be configured to help provide a relatively snug and/or secure fit on her belly. Moreover, the elastically stretchable material may be sized and configured to provide a compression fit, which may help support her belly and/or back. Exemplary elastically stretchable materials may include stretchy knit, spandex (also referred to as “elastane”) and other elastically stretchable materials. It will be appreciated, however, that the expandable portion need not be constructed from an elastically stretchable material and that the expandable portion may be constructed from other suitable materials having other suitable characteristics.

In some embodiments, the expandable maternity waistband of the upper component 106, 108 may include an expandable maternity waistband including an expandable portion that may include a drawstring. Desirably, the drawstring may be configured to help the expandable portion expand to accommodate a pregnant woman's belly during pregnancy. In addition, the drawstring may be configured to help provide a relatively snug and/or secure fit on her belly. It will be appreciated, however, that the expandable portion does not require any drawstring.

In some embodiments, the expandable maternity waistband of the upper component 106, 108 may include an expandable maternity waistband including an expandable portion that may include one or more elastic bands. For example, as shown in FIG. 5, the upper component 108 may include a full-panel maternity waistband 128 that may include an elastic band 130 disposed along all or at least a substantial portion of an upper edge of the waistband 128. Also, for example, as shown in FIG. 8, an upper component 132 may include one or more elastic bands 134, which may include one or more openings 136. The openings 136 may be selectively and/or interchangeably connected to and disconnected from a button 138 to increase or decrease the tension in the elastic band 134. Desirably, the elastic bands may be configured to help the expandable portion expand to accommodate a pregnant woman's belly during pregnancy. In addition, the elastic bands may be configured to help provide a relatively snug and/or secure fit on her belly. It will be appreciated, however, that the expandable portion does not require any elastic bands.

In some embodiments, as shown in FIGS. 1-6, an upper component 104, 106, 108 may be sized and configured to be connected to the lower component 102 along a generally under-the-belly connection line. As shown in FIG. 9, the generally under-the-belly connection line 140 may advantageously help an expandable maternity waistband of the upper component 106 or the upper component 108 to accommodate a belly of a pregnant woman 142 as her belly expands during her pregnancy. The generally under-the-belly connection line 140 may, for example, be generally positioned within one, two, three or four inches of the hip joints 144 (also referred to as the “acetabulofemoral joints”) of the woman 142. For instance, the generally under-the-belly connection line 140 may be generally positioned at or below a height A of four inches, three inches, two inches or one inch above the woman's hip joints 144. Also, for instance, the generally under-the-belly connection line 140 may be generally positioned at or below a height A of four inches, three inches, two inches or one inch above the woman's hip joints 144 and/or at or above a height of four inches, three inches, two inches or one inch below the woman's hip joints 144. If desired, the generally under-the-belly connection line 140 may be generally positioned at or below the woman's hip joints 144. It will be appreciated, however, that the connection line 140 may be located in other locations and that the article of clothing may be worn by any person.

In some embodiments, where an upper component 104, 106, 108 is connected to the lower component 102 to create a pair of pants, the upper and lower components may be sized and configured to be connected along a connection line 140 that, when worn by the woman, is generally positioned at or above a height B of one, two or three inches above a crotch 146 of the pants and/or below a height of nine, eight, seven, six, five or four inches above the crotch 146. Of course, the connection line could be higher or lower, if desired. As shown in FIG. 1, the lower component 102 may include the crotch 146 of the pair of pants.

The connection line 140 may be sized and configured to generally level when worn by the woman. In some instances, to help provide a generally level connection line 140 where an upper component 104, 106, 108 is connected to the lower component 102 to create a pair of pants, a front portion of the connection line may be located at a smaller distance from a crotch seam of the pants, while a rear portion of the connection line may be located at a larger distance from the crotch seam. For example, the front portion of the connection line could be about three, four, or five inches closer from the crotch seam than the rear portion is from the crotch seam. In particular, the front portion of the connection line could be about six to nine inches from the crotch seam (e.g. 7.5 inches), and the rear portion could be about ten to thirteen inches from the crotch seam (e.g. 11.5 inches). Of course, the front and rear portions could be in other suitable locations depending, for example, upon the particular configuration of the pants and/or the particular location of the crotch seam. Moreover, the connection line 140 need not be generally level and may be sized and configured to be, when worn by the woman, tilted forward or rearward any desired amount.

In some embodiments, for example as shown in FIGS. 2-5, when an upper component 104, 106, 108 is connected to the lower component 102, all or at least a substantial portion of the upper component may be positioned above the lower component 102 and/or the connection line.

In some embodiments, as shown in FIG. 7, the upper component may 118 may include at least one belt loop 148 with a first end and a second end, and the second end may be generally fixedly connected to the upper component 118, while the first end may be sized and configured to be selectively connected to and disconnected from the lower component 114. The second end of the belt loop 148 may be generally fixedly connected to the upper component 118 by using one or more stitches, one or more rivets or other suitable means. The first end of the belt loop 148 may be sized and configured to be selectively connected to and disconnected from the lower component 114 using, for example, at least a portion of one or more zippers, buttons, snaps, hooks, hook-and-loop fasteners and/or any other suitable means. For example, as shown in FIG. 7, the first end of the belt loop 148 may be sized and configured to be selectively connected to and disconnected from the lower component 114 using snap members 122, 124 and/or any other fastener members. It will be appreciated, however, that the lower and upper components 114, 118 do not require any belt loops.

As shown in FIG. 2, an upper component (such as the upper component 104) may include an opening 150—which may be formed, for instance, by open ends 152—that may be opened and closed, for instance, by unfastening and fastening one or more zippers, buttons, snaps, hooks, hook-and-loop fasteners (e.g. Velcro) and/or any other suitable means for securing the opening in a closed position. For example, the upper component 104 may include one or more snap members 154 that may be unfastened and fastened to open and close the opening 150.

As noted above, a clothing system may include one or more components of an article of clothing, for example, a pair of pants (such as, jeans, slacks, shorts, capris and the like), a skirt or other suitable article of clothing. For example, as shown in FIGS. 1-9, the article of clothing may be slacks or jeans. The article of clothing may, however, be shorts including a lower and upper component (such as, a lower component 156 and an upper component 158 or 160 as shown in FIGS. 10-11) or a skirt including a lower and upper component (such as, a lower component 162 and an upper component 164 or 166 as shown in FIGS. 12-13). The article of clothing, of course, may be any other suitable type of article of clothing.

In some embodiments, a set of upper components may be sized and configured to be interchangeably connected to any of a plurality of lower components to form various articles of clothing. In addition, the lower components may be sized and configured to be interchangeably connected to any of the upper components to form various articles of clothing. For example, in some embodiments, the upper components 104, 106, 108, 118, 132, 158, 160, 164, 166 may be sized and configured to be selectively and/or interchangeably connected to any of the lower components 102, 114, 156, 162, and the lower components 102, 114, 156, 162 may be sized and configured to be selectively and/or interchangeably connected to any of the upper components 104, 106, 108, 118, 132, 158, 160, 164, 166.

The methods and systems described above require no particular component or function. Thus, any described component or function—despite its advantages—is optional. For example, it will be appreciated that an article of clothing does not require any expandable maternity waistband or any other kind of waistband or expandable portion. It will be further appreciated that the article of clothing needs not be an article of maternity clothing and may be any other suitable type of clothing. Also, some or all of the described components and functions described above may be used in connection with any number of other suitable components and functions.

Although this invention has been described in terms of certain preferred embodiments, other embodiments apparent to those of ordinary skill in the art are also within the scope of this invention. Accordingly, the scope of the invention is intended to be defined only by the claims which follow.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US7908677 *Jun 2, 2008Mar 22, 2011Montgomery LatonyaInsert panel for pants
US8276216 *Jun 22, 2011Oct 2, 2012Ingrid & Isabel, LlcMaternity garment
US20110239353 *Jun 22, 2011Oct 6, 2011Ingrid CarneyMaternity garment
US20120052770 *Aug 25, 2011Mar 1, 2012Raveen Bhojwanizip-in pant girdle
US20130019370 *Jul 22, 2011Jan 24, 2013Cecilea DweckConvertible shape control garment
WO2012054773A2 *Oct 20, 2011Apr 26, 2012Columbia Sportswear North America, Inc.Waistband system, method and apparatus
Classifications
U.S. Classification2/221, 2/243.1, 2/237, 2/236
International ClassificationA41F9/00, A41D27/00, A41D1/06, A41D1/14
Cooperative ClassificationA41F9/02, A41D1/20, A41F5/00
European ClassificationA41D1/20, A41F9/02, A41F5/00