Title:
Clothing unifying system
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A clothing unifying system, which removably attaches an upper body garment to a lower body garment. The upper body garment employs upper body garment connectors that are elongated members, located at a lower periphery of the upper body garment and correspond to the location of the lower body garment connectors. One end of the upper body garment connector is permanently fixed to the upper body garment and the other end is free. The free end is passed through the opening in the lower body garment connector folded up and attached to the upper body garment in the area of the upper body garment connector's fixed end. The bottom of the upper body garment and the top of the lower body garment form an overlap area. The location, orientation and size of the upper body garment and lower body garment connectors are manipulated to maintain the overlap area. The clothing is preferably constructed from a fire retardant fleece material.



Inventors:
Benham, Randy M. (Merlin, OR, US)
Application Number:
09/911854
Publication Date:
01/23/2003
Filing Date:
07/23/2001
Assignee:
BENHAM RANDY M.
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A41D13/02; A41D15/00; A41D31/00; (IPC1-7): A41B1/00
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20090300820Patient needs communicatorDecember, 2009Cansler et al.
20050114986Paint particle deflectorJune, 2005Hobart
20090183293DETACHABLE APPAREL COLLARJuly, 2009Gulisano
20070204419Glove/mitten eraserSeptember, 2007Lewis et al.
20090216171Scrotal support garmentAugust, 2009Quinn
20070169247PROTECTIVE COAT FOR EMERGENCY RESPONDERSJuly, 2007Mordecai et al.
20090293166Oven mitt with sound, light & videoDecember, 2009Shayne
20090265830Nursing GarmentOctober, 2009Hendrickson
20070118946Forearm guardMay, 2007Spies
20070044211Post surgical abnominal splint; non-latexMarch, 2007Conkle
20080216217Snow gogglesSeptember, 2008Wang



Primary Examiner:
HOEY, ALISSA L
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
LOWE GRAHAM JONES, PLLC (SEATTLE, WA, US)
Claims:

The embodiments of the invention in which an exclusive property or privilege is claimed are defined as follows:



1. A clothing unifying system for joining an upper body garment having a lower periphery to a lower body garment having an upper periphery, the system, comprising: an upper body garment connector located adjacent the lower periphery of the upper body garment; and, a lower body garment connector located adjacent the upper periphery of the lower body garment, wherein the upper body garment connector is attachable to the lower body garment connector to join to upper body garment and the lower body garment.

2. The unifying system of claim 1, wherein the lower periphery of the upper body garment overlaps the upper periphery of the lower body garment when the upper body garment connector is attached to the lower body garment connector.

3. The unifying system of claim 1, wherein the upper body garment connector is an elongated member having a first end and a second end, and the first end is attached to the upper body garment adjacent the lower periphery of the upper body garment.

4. The unifying system of claim 3, further comprising a fastener, wherein the fastener comprises a primary portion and a secondary portion, and the primary portion is attached to the elongated member adjacent the second end and the secondary portion is attached to the upper body garment adjacent the first end.

5. The unifying system of claim 4, wherein the primary portion of the fastener and secondary portion of the fastener are relative portions of at least one of a buckle, clasp, button, snap, or hook and loop system.

6. The unifying system of claim 1, wherein the lower body garment connector is an elongated member having a proximal end and a distal end and the proximal end and the distal end are attached to the lower body garment adjacent the upper periphery of the lower body garment.

7. The unifying system of claim 1, wherein at least two upper body garment connectors are attached to the upper body garment and at least two lower body garment connectors are attached to the lower body garment in alignment with the upper body garment connectors.

8. The unifying system of claim 1, wherein the upper body garment and the lower body garment are constructed from a fire retardant material.

9. The unifying system of claim 9, wherein the fire retardant material is a fleece material.

10. The unifying system of claim 1, wherein the upper body garment connector is non-elastic.

11. The unifying system of claim 1, wherein the upper body garment connector is elastic.

12. The unifying system of claim 1, wherein the lower body garment connector is non-elastic.

13. The unifying system of claim 1, wherein the lower body garment connector is elastic.

14. A upper body garment and lower body garment unifying system, comprising: a upper body garment; a lower body garment; and a means for removably attaching the upper body garment to the lower body garment.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

[0001] This invention relates generally to clothing connecting systems.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0002] Agencies study and set safety regulations for a wide variety of occupations and activities. Among other things, the regulations define the standards for safety equipment and clothing. Some standards address the type of fire protective clothing that must be worn by people in certain occupations or while performing certain activities, such as, hazardous aviation, search and rescue units, wild land and structural fire fighting, military and law enforcement personnel, race car driving, and motorcycle racing. In general, the regulations require protective clothing that is fire resistant. More specifically, the regulations require that a fire suit be either one piece or have a top suit attached to a bottom suit such that no exposed areas are present during use. Historically, the two-piece suits employ a large, heavy belt to connect the upper body garment to the lower body garment. In this manner, the upper body garment and lower body garment each independently attached to the belt. However, many problems have resulted from current fire protective suit systems.

[0003] One problem with current fire protective suit technology is the weight of the belt. The excessive weight is fatiguing to the wearer of the suit. This is especially troublesome with wild land and structural firefighters as they are constantly moving to suppress fire. Because their movements are often on uneven ground or up and down various structural elevations in a building, any extra weight is very undesirable as the fatiguing effect can be life threatening. Also, the excessive belt weight causes muscle fatigue in high vibratory environments such as airplanes and motor vehicles. The belt and suit combination act like a spring and damper where the force of a moving belt must be absorbed by the wearer. Over time, this vibratory motion fatigues the muscle and skeletal system that absorbs and controls the belt's motion.

[0004] Another problem with the belt system is the bulky nature of the belt. More specifically, the belt is awkward to wear in confined spaces such as airplanes and motor vehicles. The belt is typically fairly rigid and therefore not very form fitting. Consequently, when worn, the belt tends to rub unevenly against the wearer, causing sores, bruises or general discomfort. The awkwardness is not only an inconvenience for the wearer but also potentially dangerous. The belt often tends to restrict movement thus affecting the wearer's ability to perform functions that might save their own life or the lives of others.

[0005] Yet another problem with the current fire suits system is a lack of thermal insulating capabilities. Typical fire suits, either one piece or two-piece, are constructed from NOMEX®, or other fire retardant material. Typically, this material is a woven fabric that is relatively dense. Consequently, insulating air pockets are not formed in the fire suit making the wearer of the suit susceptible to a range of temperatures. Generally, the thick nature of the material protects against instantaneous high heat, however, over a period of time, the material is susceptible to colder environments. For example, wild land firefighters spend a great deal of time on a fire, often several days or weeks. Typically, the firefighter will work around the clock, grabbing rest intermittently. This often means sleeping outside, a safe distance from the fire. Consequently, on cool days or nights the suit does not provide adequate thermal protection and the fire fighter goes without adequate sleep throughout the rest period.

[0006] Additionally, current fire suits do not adequately prevent injury due to molten drip. More specifically, standard fire retardant suits constructed of densely woven fire retardant material, do not, in and of themselves, provide adequate safety from molten material contacting the suit. The dense nature of standard fire retardant material is subject to overheating when in contact with molten material.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0007] The present invention comprises a system for removably attaching an upper body garment to a lower body garment via a clothing unifying system. The upper body garment employs a upper body garment connector designed to work with a lower body garment connector to removably secure the elements together. The resulting unifying system creates an overlap area between a bottom of the upper body garment and a top of the lower body garment. The fastening system retains the overlap area throughout any range in motion of a wearer of the upper and lower body garments.

[0008] In accordance with further aspects of the invention, the upper body garment is attached to the lower body garments using a buckle, clasp, button, snap, hook and loop arrangement, or other fastener.

[0009] In accordance with other aspects of the invention, the upper body garment and the lower body garment are constructed from a fire retardant fleece material.

[0010] As will be readily appreciated from the foregoing summary, the invention provides a comfortable, lightweight structure for removably attaching a upper body garment to a lower body garment.

[0011] In accordance with still further aspects of the invention, the upper body garment and lower body garment connectors are non-elastic, elastic, or partially elastic in nature.

[0012] In accordance with yet other aspects of the invention, any number of upper body garment and lower body garment connectors can be employed to maintain upper body garment and lower body garment unity.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0013] The preferred and alternative embodiments of the present invention are described in detail below with reference to the following drawings.

[0014] FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a upper body garment and lower body garment unifying system;

[0015] FIG. 2 is an isolated perspective view of the upper body garment connector system;

[0016] FIG. 3 is an isolated perspective view of the lower body garment fastening system; and

[0017] FIG. 4 is a perspective view of the coupled upper body garment and lower body garment unifying system.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

[0018] FIG. 1 depicts a clothing unifying system 20. The unifying system 20 comprises an upper body garment 22 and a lower body garment 24. The upper body garment 22 is attachable to the lower body garment 24 via upper body garment connector 26 and lower body garment connector 28. The combination of the upper body garment 22 and the lower body garment 24 create an overlap section 40. The overlap section 40 is maintained by the upper body garment connector 26 and lower body garment connector 28 throughout a wearer's range of motion. The upper body garment 22 and lower body garment 24 are preferably constructed of a fire retardant fleece material. However, other clothing materials or fabrics are considered within the scope of this invention. For example, cotton, wool, polyester, canvas, GORTEX®, natural fiber materials, man-made fiber materials, and other fire resistant materials.

[0019] The fire retardant fleece material performs several functions. The fleece is a material that provides insulation for both hot and cold temperatures. More specifically, the fleece forms small air pockets, which help to insulate the wearer from cold and hot temperatures. Similarly, the air pockets formed by the fleece prevent any molten drip or after flame hazards by creating an insulating layer. Also, the insulating layer of air pockets helps prevent electrical arcing through the upper body garment and lower body garment combination.

[0020] FIG. 2 depicts an isolated view of the upper body garment connector 26. The upper body garment connector 26 is preferably located adjacent a lower periphery 23 of the upper body garment 22. The upper body garment connector 26 includes an elongated member 27 having one end permanently attached to the upper body garment 22 and a second end that is free and extends downwardly. At the free end is a male portion of a snap device 32; the female portion of the snap device 32 is located on the upper body garment 22 in an area near the fixed end of the elongated member 27. Other fasteners such as buttons, clasps, buckles, and hook and loop arrangement, may be used instead of the snap, and are all considered within the scope of this invention. Likewise, in the preferred embodiment, the elongated member 27 is a non-elastic member. However, the upper body garment connector 26 can have an elastic section or have elastic characteristics over its entire length. Additionally, the elongated member is preferably constructed of a fire retardant material, such as NOMEX®.

[0021] As depicted in FIG. 1, the preferred embodiment employs two upper body garment connectors 26 and two lower body garment connectors 28 with the clothing unifying system 20. However, any number of connectors can be employed with this unifying system 20. The number of connectors employed is variable based upon the degree of autonomy desired between the upper body garment 22 and the lower body garment 24. A higher number of connectors can be used when greater unitary movement is desired between the upper body garment 22 and the lower body garment 24. A lower number of connectors can be used when more independent movement between the two elements is desired.

[0022] FIG. 3 depicts the lower body garment connector 28 attached to an upper periphery 25 of the lower body garment 24. The lower body garment connector 28 is also an elongated member. However, both ends of the lower body garment connector are permanently fixed to the lower body garment such that an open section is created between the fixed ends and the lower body garment 24. In the preferred embodiment, the lower body garment connector 28 forms a substantially horizontally oriented loop located over the lateral aspect the thigh or hip just above the greater trochanter of the lower body garment wearer. However, the angle of the connector lower body garment connector 28 relative to the lower body garment is variable depending upon desired upper body garment 22 and lower body garment 24 attachment characteristics. The lower body garment connector 28 can be oriented at any angle relative to the lower body garment. For example, the lower body garment connector 28 can be vertically oriented (not shown), wherein both fixed ends of the elongated member are fixed at essentially the same point.

[0023] As with the upper body garment connector 26, the lower body garment connector 28 is preferably constructed of a fire retardant material such as NOMEX®. However, any other material choice is considered within the scope of this invention. For example, cotton, wool, polyester, canvas, GORTEX®, natural fiber materials, man-made fiber materials, and other fire resistant materials.

[0024] The lower body garment connector 28 preferably is a non-elastic member. However, the lower body garment connector 28 can have an elastic section or have elastic characteristics over its entire length.

[0025] FIG. 4 depicts a coupled upper body garment 22 and lower body garment 24 via the unifying system 20. The free end of the upper body garment connector 26 is passed through the open section of the lower body garment connector 28 and then returned in the direction of the upper body garment 22 to form a loop. The free end is then attached to the upper body garment 22 by the fastener 32.

[0026] As discussed above, the upper body garment connector 26 is preferably a substantially vertically oriented member and the lower body garment connector 28 is a substantially horizontally oriented member. However, the orientation of both elements is variable and dependent upon desired attachment characteristics. For example, the upper body garment connector 26 can be substantially horizontally oriented and the lower body garment connector 28 can be a substantially vertically oriented member. Additionally, both connectors can be substantially vertically oriented members (not shown).

[0027] When a portion of the upper body garment connector 26 or the lower body garment connector 28 is permanently fixed to either the upper body garment or the lower body garment a variety of fixing methods can be used. In the preferred embodiment, the connectors are sewn to the garment. However, adhesives, welding, rivets or combinations thereof are considered within the scope of this invention.

[0028] While the preferred embodiment of the invention has been illustrated and described, as noted above, many changes can be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention. Accordingly, the scope of the invention is not limited by the disclosure of the preferred embodiment. Instead, the scope of the invention should be determined entirely by reference to the claims that follow.