|20100031427||Garment With Interior Surface Indicator||February, 2010||Smith et al.|
|20040016042||Apparatus for protecting golfer grip||January, 2004||Kim|
|20010025384||Convertible tent jacket||October, 2001||Kester|
|20060179543||Hat part made of synthetic material||August, 2006||Burmester|
|20070044208||Knee and elbow protector with three-dimensional design||March, 2007||Huang|
|20090314298||HEADPIECE FOR USE IN ASSOCIATION WITH A HEARING CAP||December, 2009||Hansson|
|20050138718||Apparatus and method for sizing and fitting garments||June, 2005||Yin et al.|
|20080109937||Wristband With Contoured Comfort Sides||May, 2008||Greer|
|20090276937||Collapsible costumes||November, 2009||Zheng et al.|
|20060277650||Protective garment having cuff-forming member||December, 2006||Waters et al.|
|20090100560||LAUNDERABLE TRITIUM HOOD||April, 2009||Anderson|
This application claims priority from provisional application Ser. No. 61/395,671, incorporated herein by reference.
1. Field of the Invention
This invention relates to a woman's undergarment in the form of a bullet resistant vest, bra, camisole or body suit that is configured to suit a woman's shape with accommodations for the breasts of a woman and to protect the woman torso and breasts from trauma related to the impact of a bullet or other projectile or blunt force.
The garment is intended to protect woman in law enforcement, the military, bodyguards, the security industry and private citizens.
2. Brief Description of Related Art
Bullet resistant vests have been around for a long time but there has never been a proper fit for a woman's figure or special protection and comfort for the breasts of a woman.
A woman's bullet resistant garment is provided that has a critical zone portion for protecting the torso of a woman. The critical zone portion has a bullet resistant layer. The bullet resistant garment has dual cups for accommodating, protecting and supporting the breasts of a user. The garment is designed to protect a woman from projectiles from weapons such as guns or small fragments from explosives such as hand grenades while providing a comfortable fit.
FIG. 1 is a front view of the invention according to one embodiment;
FIG. 2 is a front view of the invention according to another embodiment of the invention;
FIG. 3 is a cross-sectional side view of the invention; and
FIG. 4 is a side view of the invention.
The following description will disclose that the subject invention is particularly useful in the field of ballistic protection, in particular in the protection of breasts from blunt force trauma from a bullet or other damaging object. However, a person with skill in the art will be able to recognize numerous other uses that would be applicable to the device and methods of the subject invention. While the subject application describes a use for a woman's bullet resistant undergarment, other modifications apparent to a person with skill in the art and having benefit of the subject disclosure are contemplated to be within the scope of the present invention.
In the description that follows, a number of terms used relate to the undergarment and its use. In order to provide a clear and consistent understanding of the specification and claims, including the scope to be given such terms, the following definitions are provided.
The term bullet resistant means designed to resist and/or stop the penetration of a bullet.
The term woman is understood to be a woman of any age. However, the use of the term woman does not preclude a man with enlarged breast tissue.
The term undergarment is understood to mean an item of underclothing. However, the use of the undergarment of the invention is not precluded from being used over clothing if a user desires.
The term critical zone is understood to mean the torso region of a user that contains critical organs.
The term boning implements is understood to mean rigid objects that provide lateral or vertical support to the garment and assist with keeping the garment in the intended place on the user's body.
The term panty anchor is understood to mean a lower portion of garment that holds the garment in place by a connection of the frontal panel and back panel in the region of the user's crotch. It may also provide a protective shield for the genital region of the user.
A performance fabric is defined as a fabric that wicks moisture away from the skin but also breaths and has a comfortable soft feel.
The term cup or cups is intended to be a structure that has an inner concave surface area of bullet resistant material and or material that has properties that are complimentary to the physical attributes of the breasts of a woman. These properties include shape, protection, comfort and support. The cup has an inner surface that is concave. The outer surface is either convex or flat. The inner surface of the cups holds the breasts and may be lined with various material layers.
The terms back panel and front panel are intended to mean that the garment has a portion that covers the back of a user and a portion that covers a front of the user. The portion of the garment that covers the front of the user is termed the front panel. The portion of the garment that covers the back of the user is termed the back panel. The back and/or front panel may also cover the sides of the user under the arms.
It is also intended that the back panel and the front panel may be connected together integrally or by any other connecting means. The connecting means may be on the back, front, or sides of the user.
In addition, references to “first”, “second”, and the like (e.g., first and second ends), as used herein, and unless otherwise specifically stated, are intended to identify a particular feature of which there can be at least two. Such reference to “first” does not imply that there must be two or more. However, these references are not intended to confer any order in time, structural orientation, or sidedness (e.g., left or right) with respect to a particular feature.
The woman's bullet resistant undergarment is in the form of a bullet resistant vest, bra, body suit or camisole that has incorporated therein a bullet resistant molded or formed cup for accommodating the breasts of a woman within a garment that is fully or partially bullet resistant.
As shown in FIG. 1, one embodiment of the invention is directed to a bullet resistant woman's body suit A. The bullet resistant body suit A has a critical zone portion 1 that covers and protects the front, back and sides of the torso of the user. This region is covered to protect vital body organs as well as the breasts. The critical zone portion 1 includes a frontal panel 1a and back panel 1b (shown in FIG. 3) that covers the frontal area and back area, respectively, of a woman's torso that is below the clavicle bone and above the hips. The frontal plate 1a and back panel 1b have an outer armor or bullet resistant material 5 conforming to the shape of a woman's figure. The armored or bullet resistant material 5 in the frontal panel 1a of the critical zone 1 of the garment A includes a shaped or formed cup 2. The formed or molded cup 2 can be made from flexible or rigid bullet resistant material 5. The cup 2 protects the breasts from blunt force or bullet trauma and permits the bullet resistant material 5 to conform to the woman's shape for a comfortable and less bulky fit. It separates and lifts the breasts rather than compressing them down against the rib cage. The cups can be two separate cups, each to hold a single breast or one large cup that is elongated to hold two breasts in the same elongated cup. This feature that keeps the breast tissue from being compacted is healthier for the breast tissue. The first embodiment shown in FIG. 1 also contains a panty anchor 19 to hold the garment in place by keeping it from lifting vertically toward the user's chin.
As further shown in FIG. 1, the garment can contain boning implements 18 to prevent the garment from “riding up” or lateral movement. The boning implements 18 are either a rigid or a semi rigid material in the shape of a planar stick or plank that is sewn into or integral with the garment. Boning implements 18 can be placed in the waist region or under the arm openings of the garment. They add to the construction and shape of the garment to make it fit and perform better.
In an embodiment wherein the bullet resistant material is very rigid, boning implements would not be used. Rather than boning implements at reference number 18, flexible joints could optionally be incorporated into the garment at reference number 18. This would permit the user to have lateral movement and to be able to bend forward slightly. The flexible joints would be constructed of tough bullet resistant material that was somewhat flexible in nature.
In FIG. 1, the bodysuit embodiment, the panty anchor 19 is affixed to the armored or bullet resistant critical zone portion 1 at the lower end 20 thereof. The panty anchor 19 may optionally contain a protective shield 22 thereon or therein to protect the genital region of the user. The protective shield can be made of one or more of an air management material, bullet resistant material or other soft padding. The panty anchor 19 extends downward from the lower end 20 of the bullet resistant garment to form a crotch anchor strap 16. The anchor strap 16 serves as an anchoring means to keep the garment in place and the breasts comfortably in the cups 2. The crotch anchor strap 16 has a first half and a second half with complementary closure means 17 for connecting the first half the anchor strap to the second half of the anchor strap at the crotch region of the user. Preferably and optionally, the anchor strap 16 has a wicker shield 15 for the comfort and moisture absorption of the user. The closure means 7 can be any suitable closing mechanism and preferably Velcro® or snaps. The panty anchor 19 may be integral to or attachable to the lower end of the bullet resistant garment A.
As shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, a breast shelf 10 fits and is attached to the inside the garment directly beneath the breasts to support the breasts. The breast shelf 10 is below the breast cups 2. The breast shelf 10 is a length of fabric, strap or other supporting material such as, for example elastic, plastic, metal or foam. The material is either flexible or rigid. The breast shelf 10 is preferably elastic fabric that surrounds the torso of the user. The breast shelf 10 has a bandwidth that is sufficient to provide support for the cup size of the garment. A larger bandwidth would be used for larger breasts. It is contemplated that the bandwidth is approximately 0.5 to 3 inches wide. An additional bandeau or tube style bra (not shown) can also be used inside of the critical zone portion 1 for additional breast support.
Straps 4 support the garment from the user's shoulders. The straps 4 may have shoulder closure means 3 for assisting the putting on or taking off of the garment. The closure means are made of Velcro®, snaps, ties or other suitable closure means that will support most or all of the weight of the garment.
According to a second embodiment of the invention, the garment comprises a camisole having similar features as the first embodiment but does not have a panty anchor. As shown in FIG. 2, the midsection of the garment may have a tailored midsection 9 to fit a woman's waist area. The anchoring mechanism in the second embodiment of the invention is a weight dispersion anchor point 8 extending downward from the garment. Weights 14 are included in the anchor points 8. The weight dispersion anchor point(s) are located at the lower end of the garment to keep the garment from riding up on the user. The weight dispersion anchor points 8 can be located wherever is best for the figure of the woman. They may be one or more in number. They may be integral with the garment or attachable thereto. In one example, the weight dispersion anchor points are located in the vicinity of the hipbones and/or buttock. The benefit of the weights being over the hips or buttock of the user rather than over the abdomen is to extend the weight of the garment down the legs rather than over the stomach to provide added comfort. In another example, the weight dispersion anchor point 14 is a single unit that runs the total distance of the circumference of the lower end 20 of the garment to circle the torso of the user.
Shown in FIG. 3, a cross-sectional view of the garment for either the first or second embodiments is presented to demonstrate the construction of the interior of the walls of the garment. Preferably, a layer of a bullet resistant material 5 is lined with an air management layer 6 in the area of the breasts. Interior to the bullet resistant material 5 layer and air management layer 6 may include a fabric interior layer 7 that lies against the skin of the user. The fabric interior layer is preferably a performance fabric to add to the comfort of the user. The frontal panel 1a, back panel 1b, straps 4 with closure means 3 as well as breast shelf 10 are also shown. An outer sheath 21 may be layered over the top of the bullet resistant material. The outer sheath may be a decorative sheath of any fabric type. It provides concealment of the bullet resistant garment and may also provide for individual fashion.
As shown in FIG. 3, in this embodiment of the invention, the cups 2 have a concave inner surface and a convex outer surface. This differs from FIG. 4, wherein the front panel 1a has a substantially flat outer surface, yet on the inside of the garment the cups 2 are still present as a part of the garment and have a concave inner surface for receiving, supporting and protecting the breasts. The concave inner surface is defined by one or more of the bullet resistant material, air management material and performance fabric shaped to make the cups. These materials not only define the cups, they can also fill the space 100 defined by the inside of the garment and the outside of the garment.
As shown in FIG. 4, a side view of the invention according to the second embodiment of the invention, tailored darting 11 in the vicinity of the waist may be added to customize the fit of the garment to the user. Tailored darting can comprise stitching, lacing, or other adjustment fasteners. A torso body closure 12 is shown that is an overlapping lapel with a soft closure means 13, preferably Velcro® hook and loop fabric. It is important to overlap the lapel to bring the bullet resistant material together to prevent an opening for a bullet to enter. Other closure mechanisms that serve this purpose are also contemplated.
In FIG. 4 it is demonstrated that the outer surface of the cup(s) of the garment can be substantially flat in one embodiment providing a substantially flat external surface of the garment, while the inner surface garment has cups are concave as shown in dash lines. The space 100 between the bullet resistant material and an inner fabric layer is preferably filled with air management material.
In a third embodiment of the invention, a bullet resistant bra is provided that is the same as the second embodiment of the invention (camisole), differing only in that the critical zone portion is not as long. It extends downward only past the breasts to either cover the breasts and heart or the breast, heart and lungs.
The bullet resistant material can be any standard bullet resistant material that has the specifications that it protects the user from injury caused from ballistics. Bullet resistant material can be a single layer of bullet resistant material or can comprise a layering of materials that result in a bullet resistant material. The bullet resistant layer 5 is intended to include either single or multiple layer bullet resistant material(s). Examples of standard materials are ceramics, polyethylene, hybrid steel, Twarron and Kevlar. The bullet resistant material may be a series of layers of material with the proviso that it is bullet resistant and meets standards as set by the US and UK. The bullet resistant material may be rigid or flexible.
Bullet-resistant materials (also called ballistic materials or, equivalently, anti-ballistic materials) are usually rigid, but may be supple. They may be complex, such as Kevlar, Lexan and carbon fiber composite materials, or they may be basic and simple, such as steel or titanium. Preferably the bullet-resistant material of the garment of the invention passes the United States National Institute of Justice standard 0104.04 for bullet-resistant vests which specifies that a Type II vest must not deform clay representing the wearer's body when hit by an 8.0 g (124 gr) 9 mm caliber round nosed full-metal jacket bullet travelling at up to 358 m/s (1175 ft/s), and specifies that a Type IIIA vest is needed for protection against the same bullet travelling at up to 427 m/s (1400 ft/s).
The garment can be size adjusted to fit different size woman. Variations of sizes in the breasts cups, length and girth are contemplated and indicated for a particular user.
The air management material/portion 6 is made of a material that contains air pockets such as foam, a sponge, padding or other air trapping material. This layer lines the cups 2 to provide additional protection for the breast tissue from trauma and to add comfort.
The air management material used inside the cups may optionally be used as a layer in other areas of the garment to add comfort and protection from impact. For example, the air management material can be used in the protective shield 22 or under the breasts as shown by reference number 100 in FIG. 4.
The performance fabric layer that rests against the skin as a lining is cotton, polyester or blends of fibers that wick moisture away from the body and keep the skin cool. Performance fabrics are also contemplated like Celliant® material or Under Armor®. Celliant® material is commercially available from Hologenix the makers of Holofiber. Under Armour® is available from Under Armour Corporation. Other fabrics that are contemplated are performance or support fabrics are Lycra®, Spandex® or other elastic fabrics.
The present invention is more particularly described in the following examples that are intended to be illustrative only since numerous modifications and variations therein will be apparent to those skilled in the art. As used in the specification and in the claims, the singular for “a,” “an” and “the” include plural referents unless the context clearly dictates otherwise.
In use, a woman puts the bullet resistant garment on by opening the body closure and slipping the garment on and then closing the body closure via the Velcro® or other closure means so that the bullet resistant material totally encloses the torso in the critical zone area, leaving no gaps for bullet entry. The shoulder straps are adjusted to the proper height so that the breast cups cover and support the woman's breasts while also protecting them from trauma. The anchor weight or panty anchor keeps the garment in the proper position and also keeps it from riding up the torso. The boning implements also adds support to the garment. The moisture from the skin is absorbed by the performance fabric. The breast shelf is adjusted to lift the breasts into the cups and keep them there.
During impact of the breasts by a blunt force object or bullet, the air management portion inside of the cups protects the breast tissue from bruising and damage while the bullet resistant material prevents penetration of an object through the garment.
In a second example, the user puts on the garment in the same manner as above with the added feature, that the panty anchor has a crotch anchor strap and crotch anchor closure means. The user secures the crotch anchor closure means to hold the garment in place and it does not ride up toward the chin of the user. Darting or ties are adjusted to conform the garment to the user's natural shape and boning implements assist to hold the garment in position. If a bullet or other force impacts the user in the lower portion of the user's torso, the protective shield prevents injury to the tissue and organs in that vicinity.