Title:
UNDERGARMENT AND PROSTHESIS FOR USE THEREWITH
United States Patent 3710800


Abstract:
Disclosed is a uniquely constructed woman's undergarment which has encircling elastic-like loops for the breasts of the wearer, wherein the encircling portions of the garment are pivotally supported from connector straps in order to obtain bust separation, lift, support and centering enclosure while insuring proper fit and comfortable wearing of the garment. The disclosed garment, having breast encircling portions, is preferably worn with another support-type of garment such as a brassiere.



Inventors:
CAREY V
Application Number:
05/192109
Publication Date:
01/16/1973
Filing Date:
10/26/1971
Assignee:
CAREY V,US
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A41C3/00; (IPC1-7): A41C3/00
Field of Search:
3/36 128
View Patent Images:
US Patent References:
2475893Brassiere1949-07-12Hayes
2453296Brassiere1948-11-09Bates
2413060Bust support1946-12-24Maas
2406699Bust separator1946-08-27Lustig
1890507Bust supporter1932-12-13Gifford
1845011Bust form1932-02-16Yerkes
0162019N/A1875-04-13



Foreign References:
DE584456C
GB369602A
Primary Examiner:
Boler, James R.
Assistant Examiner:
Larkin V, G.
Parent Case Data:


This application is a continuation-in-part of my earlier application, Ser. No. 841,880, filed July 15, 1969, and now abandoned.
Claims:
I claim

1. In an inner-bra for supporting, spacing and positioning female breasts including a body portion adapted to gird the torso of the wearer, a pair of closed loops secured to said body portion, each loop being adapted to encircle one breast of the wearer, a pair of supporting straps each secured at one end to said body portion, said loops being formed as continuations of said supporting straps, the other end of each strap being fastened with a pivot to an intermediate portion thereof to thereby define said loop and allow pivotal movement of the portions of the loop adjacent said pivot so that during such pivotal movement the portions of the loop adjacent the pivot may define inverted V-shaped configurations and approach a circular configuration, each of said loops being formed of a ribbon of elastic-like material and defining a central opening of sufficient size as to permit the breast of the wearer to pass through and project beyond said loop, each loop having a length such that it completely encircles the base of the breast, the length of the loop in a normal condition being less than the normal undistorted peripheral length of the breast to be supported thereby, whereby each loop is stretched and placed under tension when worn while firmly gripping the entire periphery of the base of the breast, the width of the ribbon material in each loop being sufficient to enable a breast lifting action while permitting the major portion of a breast supported thereby to project beyond the loop, each loop being fixedly secured to said body portion over at least the lower half of the periphery of the loop, the material of each loop projecting laterally from said body portion at the area of securement of the loop to said body portion.

2. The structure of claim 1 wherein said pivots are defined by elastic thread stitches.

3. The structure of claim 1 wherein the width of each loop is on the order and in the range of approximately 1/2 to 11/2 inches.

4. The structure of claim 1 wherein said body portion is defined by elastic material in the areas thereof which are adjacent said loops.

Description:
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates to a unique type of undergarment, in some respects similar to a brassiere but which substantially differs therefrom in several particulars. An undergarment is disclosed which is intended to perform the functions of enclosure, lift and separation. The garments utilize a pair of loop constructions which are of elastic-like material and which are joined to shoulder straps or other ultimate support straps in a pivotal manner such that each of the encircling loop portions for each of the breasts is free for independent movement with respect to the support structure or strap.

The prior art discloses and has suggested encircling and loop-type undergarments calling them bust separators, brassieres, and similar such names, but the prior art has never suggested, as far as is known, the idea of having encircling loop portions made of elastic-like or stretchable-type material of a circumference less than the circumference of the breast and being secured to a support strap or other structure in a novel pivotal manner so as to achieve the disclosed desired end results.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

Generally, in one of the exemplary embodiments, the invention relates to an undergarment for female breasts comprising a pair of loops of elastic material wherein each of the loops is adapted to encircle one breast of the wearer of the undergarment by a loop circumference less than the circumference of the breast. A body portion of four-way stretch Spandex is secured to at least the lower peripheral edge of each of said loops in order to keep the loops in place and to separate breasts, and is adapted to encircle at least a portion of the body of the wearer, usually extending completely around and fastening at the back. A pair of supporting straps or the like is also provided wherein each of the straps is pivotally attached by means of elastic thread to an upper portion of each of the loops so as to allow free, separate and independent pivotal movement of each of said loops with respect to the supporting strap or support structure, and is of a length sufficient to allow the pivot knot to lie on the upper peripheral edge of the breast; that is, at the front point or lower than the front point of attachment of the strap of a conventional bra, approximately across from the arm pit.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 illustrates one form of the undergarment of this invention as worn by a woman;

FIG. 2 illustrates the undergarment depicted in FIG. 1 in a somewhat flattened out position;

FIG. 3 exemplifies another embodiment of the invention, wherein pivotal attachment of the loop encircling portions of the undergarment is achieved with the supporting straps by other than permanent means; and

FIG. 4 is a side view showing the undergarment positioned on a wearer having pendulous breasts.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

Referring now to the drawings and specifically FIGS. 1-4 inclusive, an exemplary embodiment of the undergarment 2 of this invention is illustrated. It will be noted that the garment 2 comprises a first loop 4 and a second laterally displaced or spaced loop 6 of an elastic-like material. The loops 4 and 6 are so formed and shaped so as to be able to encircle the breasts of a female wearer as illustrated in FIG. 1. The area or configuration of each of the loops 4 and 6 will be of varying size depending upon the size of the breasts of the wearer but in all cases will be of a diameter less than the diameter of the breast and the diameter of an A, B, C, D, etc. size standard found in the conventional brassiere. Each of the loops 4 and 6 is formed by a continuous length or span of elastic material with the encircling portion or loop being secured to itself as at 8 and 10 with a pivotal-type securement means, here taking the form of elastic thread attachment. The span of material for the loops 4 and 6 is preferably of an elastic which will stretch in the direction of its length but not in the direction of its width, and along diagonal lines. In other words, the securement or pivotal points at 8 and 10 are formed by either a single, heavy strand of elastic thread or a plurality of strands of elastic thread in a closely aligned relationship such that almost complete pivotal movement is obtained between the loops 4 and 6 and the supporting structure or integral straps 12 and 14. The straps 12 and 14 are defined as a continuation of the loop material. Elastic thread must be used for obtaining the pivotal connection as at 8 and 10. The individual manner of securement at the pivotal or securement points 8 and 10 is unimportant just so long as complete, independent and freedom of movement is obtained between the encircling portions 4 and 6 of the undergarment and the support structures or supporting straps 12 and 14 which completes the important components of the undergarment 2.

The loop material must have a width such as to provide an initial lift to breasts. A practical range of widths is 1/2 to 11/2 inches. Smaller breasts may use smaller widths while larger breasts require the greater widths. The pivot connections 8 and 10 not only provide pivotal movement of the loops with respect to the straps 12 and 14, but also allow relative pivoting movement between the portions of the loop adjacent to the pivot. The pivotal connection as shown provides and defines the shape of an inverted V as shown in FIG. 2, and the pivot allows this V shape to become more shallow when worn. In fact with round breasts the V shape may substantially disappear so that in effect the loops are then substantially circular. This allows the loops to fully surround the breasts at the area of the breasts adjacent to the body wall. The loops, when worn, are stretched so that the breast tissue in contact with the loops is slightly compressed or displaced.

The pivot connections 8 and 10 allow the loops to conform to the normal shape of the wearer's breasts. When breasts are other than round as, for example, pear shaped, the loops nonetheless conform to this shape and may in that event show a shallow V shape in the region of the pivots.

The pivots 8 and 10 are so positioned that they will be masked by a conventional bra worn over the breasts when supported by the loops, regardless of shape of the breasts. The pivots 8 and 10 will be located at or below the general level of the wearer's arm pits.

Secured to the lower peripheral portions 16 and 18 of loops 4 and 6 respectively, as by sewing or the like, is a band of material 20, much in the form of the conventional brassiere and which band is adapted, in this particular instance, to be fastened in the back of the wearer by means of eyes 22 secured to the end 24 and hooks, not shown, secured to the end 26. the normally spaced reinforcing seams 28 forming intermediate panels are as found in the conventional brassiere constructions. The band 20 is, in the preferred form, fabricated of a double thickness of elastic, stretchable-like material so as to provide full freedom of movement for the wearer. This material is a type which will stretch in all directions. Single thicknesses will also suffice provided satisfactory binding of the free edges is had. It will be noted that band 20 and specifically the opposite edges or ends 32 and 34 are shaped so as to conform to standards of conventional bras which might be worn over this. The upper most portion 36 of band 20, disposed between the encircling loops 4 and 6 should be of the height lying directly opposite nipples that are centered in the loops. The straps 12 and 14 are secured to the upper edges 32 and 34, respectively, of band 20 as by sewing or the like in conventional fashion at points 36 and 38. Stitching and the seams shown and formed by attachment of the various components thus described should be done in a manner so as not to curtail the ability of the garment 2 to expand and retract as requirements of the wearer dictate.

When securing the loop material to the band 20 an ordinary strip of elastic material of the proper width is sewn to the strap 20 as at 16 and 18 and this will cause the band of material to project laterally from the band 20. This is due to the fact that the band material naturally assumes this shape because otherwise the inner edge of the band would have to define a circle of smaller radius than the circle at the point of attachment. The lower portions of the loops thus project forwardly from the band 20 as do the breasts from the body of the wearer. The major portion of the wearer's breasts project beyond the loops. In use the band 20 lies flat against the body wall while the lower portions of the loops project forwardly from this body wall. The lower portions approach the shape of a portion of a frustum of a cone.

The upper edges of band material at the sides of the loops should be on a level at least one-half the height of the loops. This is important to prevent breast tissue from receding toward the arm pits. In theory, the upper edges of the band could be positioned close to the pivot points 8 and 10. However, in practice it is desired to keep these edges as low as possible from the standpoint of appearance. The same is true of the upper edge of the central panel 36 between the loops.

The band 20 should have a dimension measured from the lowermost point of the loops to the lower edge 30 sufficient to hold the lower portions of the loops in place. In practice this dimension may be approximately one-half of an inch. This dimension may be greater than this for purposes of function but the dimension should be kept small enough so that the inner bra does not show beneath the conventional bra.

It will be seen that the quality of bust separation attributable to the garment aforedescribed will not change or be variable because of the body movement of the wearer since the center portion 36 of the band 20 between the encircling loops 4 and 6 which is one-half to one inch in width at point opposite centered nipples keeps the spacing constant, and the pivot securement of the loops 4 and 6 to the supporting straps 12 and 14, as at 8 and 10, allows for unlimited movement. The movement is not that of elastic against skin, but rather skin being held securely by elastic moving against inner breast tissue. Advantages to the undergarment 2, in addition to those that are obvious, are the prevention of a drooping or unsupportive condition to the breasts especially where they are pendulous or pear-shaped and the like. The garment 2 contributes to the aesthetic appearance of the wearer in that breast tissue under the arm of the wearer is moved forward to be encompassed within the circling portions of the garment 2, to not only accentuate the size of the breasts but to keep the tissue from receding under the arm of the wearer. In the preferred form the straps or supporting structures such as 12 and 14, at least just beyond the loops, should be of elastic-like or stretchable material so as to provide ample support to the breasts of the wearer.

In donning the inner bra or garment depicted in FIG. 2, the wearer may bend forward from the waist, letting the breasts drop entirely through the encircling loop portions of the undergarment 2 while fastening the back hooks, although, if preferred, this may be done backwards, i.e., the fastening may be fastened in the front and then shifted to the back. The arms of the wearer are then slipped through the shoulder straps and the individual loops stretched until the breasts drop completely through. In the same forward position, the conventional or regular bra or other garment having such supportive structure is donned. If the undergarment 2 is too tight or too loose it may simply be adjusted by clipping the pivot knot as at 8 or 10 and restitching it at another place, but in the same manner so that none of the pivot quality is lost. That is, by using and carrying the needle back through the elastic as close as possible to the spot to where it went in and this may be repeated several times before knotting. As earlier pointed out elastic thread must be used. If any adjustments in the respective positions of the breasts are necessary, the adjustment may be accomplished by lifting the support strap or structure for one of the loops and securing it to the strap of the conventional bra which is worn over it.

Referring now to FIG. 3 specifically, another embodiment 2' of the invention is illustrated, having the same essential construction characteristics as the garment 2 illustrated in FIG. 2 but differing therefrom, in this particular instance, in that the undergarment 2' has the loops 4' and 6' attached to straps 12' and 14' through a different type of pivotal securement means. Here the straps 12' and 14' are provided with a plurality of spaced apertures such as 11 and 13 which may or may not be reinforced thereabout and the free ends 5 and 7 of loops 4' and 6' respectively, provided with a rivet-type structure 15 and 17, adapted to pass through the apertures 11 or 13 in pivotal securing fashion. Obviously the placement of the pivot-type securing members 15 and 17 may be reversed with respect to the apertures 11 and 13 in the straps 12' and 14'. In this case, therefore, the rivet structures would be at spaced points on the straps 12' and 14' with only one coacting aperture being placed in each of the free ends of the loops 5 and 7. Preferably the pivot securing members 15 and 17 have rounded-like heads or structures so as not to snag the clothes of the wearer or cause discomfort to the wearer.

Generally speaking the elastic-like or stretchable material used for the forming the breast-encircling portions of the undergarment and in most instances the supporting straps are commercially available elastics of varying sizes as will be pointed out later, but the preferred forms of elastic material are those as made available by Pratt and Farmer Co. of New York, under their trade designation "Elastic No. 1052 - 3/4" White (for an inner-bra or garment of this invention conforming in size to the conventional 32 inch size bra) and "Elastic No. 1052 - 1" White (for bra sizes 34 and up). The width of the elastic material making up the loop encircling portions may be from 1/2 to 11/2 inch wide depending upon the size of the garment that is desired, but the preferred width is from 3/4 inch to 1 inch which will normally be sufficient for general requirements.

The band of material, which encircles at least partially the lower chest of the wearer, to which the encircling loops are attached, should be of an elastic material that stretches in all directions and will generally employ the normal bra configuration. The band material may be of single or double thickness and may conform to the conventionally accepted elastic brassiere-type constructions prevailing in the industry. However, one desirable type of material has been found to be a four-way stretch-type one comprising 76 percent NYLON and 24 percent LYCRA SPANDEX as made available from the United Elastic Corporation of East Hampton, Mass.

Because the circumference of loop 18 is less than the circumference of the breast which sags toward the lower lateral portion of the loop, the loop completely encloses all breast tissue and by lifting or shortening strap 14, and particularly by additionally wearing a conventional bra, a woman can lift pendulous breasts as much as 4 inches or more.

The breast support of the present invention is intended to be custom fitted to the wearer. In this regard, the unstretched length or circumference of the loops 4 and 6 is somewhat less than the normal circumference of the wearer's breasts at the area of the breasts adjacent the body wall. Thus, when the inner bra is positioned over the wearer, the loops will be stretched in the direction of their length while the breast tissue in contact therewith is placed under a compressing or displacing force. The loops thus grip the breasts all the way around the breasts and this gripping action enhances lifting of the breasts. The length of the supporting strap portions 12 and 14 should be such as to locate the pivots 8 and 10 at the upper peripheral area of the breasts.

In a typical example for a woman normally wearing a size 32-A conventional brassiere for round breasts, the circumference of the loops may be approximately 10 inches when off the body of the wearer and then stretched to approximately 13 inches when positioned over the breasts. The gathering of the breast material produced by the inner bra makes it desirable that the wearer wears the next larger brassiere cup size the what would otherwise be the case. In the example mentioned, the wearer might then wear a brassiere with a cup size of 32-B or 32-C. The size 32-B has a maximum cup sized circumference of approximately 141/2 inches.

The stretching of the loop material as mentioned results in the breast tissue being firmly grasped completely around the circumference of the breast in the region of the joinder of the breast tissue to the body wall.

In the example mentioned, the dimension of the elastic straps 12 and 14 from the pivots 8 and 10 to the point of attachment to band 20 was 91/2 inches in the off-body position, while stretched to 131/2 inches when worn.

The side panels of band 20 help maintain the loop position on the breast tissue by providing an elastic force opposing inward movement of the loops. This elastic force also presses against the body tissue and helps prevent breast tissue from receding toward the arm pit.

As formed, the particular construction of the inner bra enables it to be correctly positioned even during strenuous exercise by the wearer. The positioning is maintained by the firm grip of the loops on the breasts while the general position of the loops is maintained by the band 20. The pivots 8 and 10 allow relative movement of the loop portions near the pivots with respect to each other during movement of the wearer. This relative movement for one loop is independent of the relative movement in the other loop, and vice versa.

It will be noted that a superior type of undergarment has been disclosed which will have other desirable attributes, other than those already described for the specific illustrated forms of the invention, and will at once suggest other modifications to those of ordinary skill in the art and such modifications will not detract from the spirit of the disclosed invention as defined by the appended claims.