Title:
Protective salon garment
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An improved protective salon garment is disclosed. The garment may be a cape, a smock, a gown, or an apron which includes a protective portion that is constructed of a textile barrier fabric that is substantially impermeable to water, but is also permeable to air and water vapor, thereby providing effective and comfortable protection to wearers. The garment includes a protective portion having a neck opening and fastening means for securing the protective portion about the neck and torso of a person.



Inventors:
Levy, Richard D. (Greensboro, NC, US)
Application Number:
10/008011
Publication Date:
05/15/2003
Filing Date:
11/08/2001
Assignee:
LEVY RICHARD D.
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A41D13/04; A45D44/08; (IPC1-7): A41B13/10; A41D13/04
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
HALE, GLORIA M
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
C. Robert Rhodes (Atlanta, GA, US)
Claims:

What is claimed is:



1. An improved protective salon garment comprising: (a) a cloak portion constructed of at least one sheet of substantially textile barrier fabric, wherein the fabric is substantially impervious to water, and has air permeability between greater than zero and about 3 cubic foot per minute per square foot; and (b) means for releasably securing the cloak portion about a person's neck and torso in preparation for hair cutting, hair styling, shampooing, hair treatment, or application of cosmetics; (c) wherein the cloak portion has a suitable size and shape to substantially cover desired portions of a person's torso when the cloak portion is secured about the person's neck.

2. An improved protective salon garment according to claim 1 wherein the fabric is calendared and has a fluorochemical finish.

3. An improved protective salon garment according to claim 2 wherein the fluorochemical finish is fluorocarbon.

4. An improved protective salon garment according to claim 1 wherein the fabric further includes an antimicrobial finish.

5. An improved protective salon garment according to claim 1 wherein the barrier fabric has a water repellency spray test rating of at least about 70 when tested according to AATCC 127-1998.

6. An improved protective salon garment according to claim 1 wherein the barrier fabric is comprised of woven synthetic yarn.

7. An improved protective salon garment according to claim 6 wherein the synthetic yarn is selected from the group consisting of polyester, nylon, and polypropylene.

8. An improved protective salon garment according to claim 6 wherein the woven barrier fabric comprises warp and weft yarns having a weight in a range from about 30 denier to about 250 denier.

9. An improved protective salon garment according to claim 6 wherein the woven barrier fabric comprises warp and weft yarns having a weight of about 70 denier.

10. An improved protective salon garment according to claim 9 wherein the woven synthetic barrier fabric has a weight of about 2.3 ounces per square yard.

11. An improved protective salon garment according to claim 9, wherein the barrier fabric has a finished coverage of at least about 200 threads per inch.

12. An improved protective salon garment according to claim 1 wherein the barrier fabric has a resistance to water penetration under hydrostatic pressure of at least about 40 cm.

13. An improved protective salon garment according to claim 1 wherein the fabric has a water vapor transmission rate that is at least about 900 g/24 hrs./sq ft.

14. An improved protective salon garment according to claim 1, wherein: (a) the sheet includes a collar end, a bottom end, and two opposing side edges; (b) the collar end of the sheet includes a neck opening dividing the collar end of the sheet into left and right shoulder portions, wherein the neck opening is centered between the two side edges and the left and right shoulder portions are substantially equal in size, thereby forming a salon cape; and (c) the means for securing the sheet about a person's neck comprises complementary fastener portions attached to either side of the neck opening, wherein the complementary fastener portions can be fastened together to close the neck opening around a person's neck.

15. A salon cape according to claim 14, wherein the complementary fastener portions comprise at least one set of snaps attached on opposed sides of the neck opening.

16. A salon cape according to claim 14, wherein the complementary fastener portions comprise matching hook and loop strips attached on opposed sides of the neck opening.

17. A salon cape according to claim 14 wherein the protective sheet is substantially rectangular.

18. A salon cape according to claim 14 further including at least one loop attached to an edge of the protective sheet, wherein the at least one loop can be used to hang the salon cape.

19. An improved salon cape comprising: (a) a protective sheet comprised of a textile barrier fabric, wherein the barrier fabric has a fluorocarbon finish, is substantially water impermeable, and is comprised of woven polyester yarn which is calendared, and the barrier fabric includes: (i) a fluorocarbon finish; (ii) air permeability between about zero and about 3 cubic foot per minute per square foot; (iii) a water repellency spray test rating of at least about 70 when tested according to AATCC 127-1998; (iv) warp and weft yarns having a weight of about 70 denier; (v) a weight in a range from about 2.3 ounces per square yard to about 2.4 ounces per square yard; (vi) a resistance to water penetration under hydrostatic pressure of at least about 40 cm. per second; (vii) a water vapor transmission rate that is at least about 900 g/24 hrs./sq ft.; and (viii) a finished coverage of at least about 200 threads per inch; and (b) means for releasably securing the protective sheet about a person's neck in preparation for hair styling, shampooing, or cosmetology; (c) wherein the protective sheet has a suitable size and shape to substantially cover the torso of a person when the sheet is secured about the person's neck.

20. An improved protective salon garment according to claim 1, wherein: (a) the cloak portion comprises a back panel, an inner front panel, an outer front panel, a collar opening, a pair of opposed sleeves, at least one pair of ties; (b) the inner and outer front panels each include a free edge and are shaped and sized to cooperatively overlap to cover the frontal area of a person's torso when the outer front panel overlaps the inner front panel, thereby forming a smock; (c) the collar opening includes a fastening means for releasably securing the smock about a person's neck when said inner and outer front panels are in overlapping arrangement; (d) the at least one pair of ties is arranged to releasably secure the outer front panel in overlapping arrangement over the inner front panel such that the smock substantially covers the frontal area of a person wearing the smock when the at least one pair of ties is tied together.

21. A salon smock according to claim 20 wherein the at least one sheet of substantially water impermeable textile fabric forming the back panel, inner front panel, outer front panel, and sleeves is comprised of woven synthetic yarn, is calendared, and includes: (a) a fluorochemical finish; (b) a water repellency spray test rating of at least about 70; (c) warp and weft yarns having a weight in the range from about 30 to about 250 denier, said yarns being of a material selected from the group consisting of polyester, nylon, and polypropylene; (d) a resistance to water penetration under hydrostatic pressure of at least about 40 cm.; and (e) a water vapor transmission rate that is at least about 900 g/24 hrs./sq ft.

22. An improved protective salon garment according to claim 1, wherein: (a) the cloak portion comprises a back panel, a first front panel, and a second front panel, wherein the first and second front panels include front edges; and (b) the salon garment includes securing means for releasably connecting the front edges of the first and second front panels together such that the connected panels substantially cover the frontal area of a person, thereby forming a stylist's gown.

23. A stylist's gown according to claim 22 wherein the at least one sheet of substantially water impermeable textile fabric forming the back panel, first front panel, and second front panel is comprised of woven synthetic yarn, is calendared and includes: (a) a fluorochemical finish; (b) a water repellency spray test rating of at least about 70; (c) warp and weft yarns having a weight in the range from about 30 to about 250 denier, said yarns being of a material selected from the group consisting of polyester, nylon, and polypropylene; (d) a resistance to water penetration under hydrostatic pressure of at least about 40 cm.; and (e) a water vapor transmission rate that is at least about 900 g/24 hrs./sq ft.

24. A stylist's gown according to claim 23 wherein the cloak portion further includes first and second sleeve portions for covering the arms of a person wearing the gown.

25. A stylist's apron comprising: (a) a protective panel sized and shaped to substantially cover the frontal area of a person wearing the apron, and having an upper end and two lateral edges, said panel constructed of substantially water impermeable textile fabric which is comprised of woven synthetic yarn, is calendared, and includes: (i) a fluorochemical finish; (ii) a water repellency spray test rating of at least about 70; (iii) warp and weft yarns having a weight in the range from about 30 to about 250 denier, said yarns being of a material selected from the group consisting of polyester, nylon, and polypropylene; (iv) a resistance to water penetration under hydrostatic pressure of at least about 40 cm.; and (vi) a water vapor transmission rate that is at least about 1000 g/24 hrs./sq ft. (b) a neck strap having a first end and a second end, wherein said ends are attached to said upper end of said panel to form a neck loop suitable for placement about a persons shoulders and neck for suspending said apron therefrom; and (c) a first waist strap connected to one lateral edge of said panel and a second waist strap connected to the other lateral edge of said panel, wherein said waist straps are suited for tying together about a person's waist to secure said apron to the person's frontal area.

26. A method of producing affordable protective salon garments for use by barbers, hair stylists, beauticians, and cosmetologists, said method comprising: (a) identifying a source of barrier fabric seconds originally produced for medical or other high technology applications, but which do not meet the required fabric standards for said high technology applications; (b) procuring said fabric seconds from said source at a cost that is substantially less than the cost for said barrier fabric which meets the standards required for said high technology applications; (c) producing said garments from the procured fabric seconds.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0001] 1. Field of the Invention

[0002] The present invention relates generally to garment protectors for hair styling, barbering, cosmetology, and the like, and more particularly to improved protective salon garments that are substantially impervious to water and liquids but are permeable to air and water vapor.

[0003] 2. Description of the Prior Art

[0004] Protective salon garments are used to shield salon patrons and salon professionals from hair clippings, water, chemicals, and the like while salon services are rendered to salon patrons. One type of protective salon garment is a salon cape. Salon capes are commonly used by hair stylists and barbers to shield their patrons from hair clippings. Another type of protective salon garment is a salon smock. Smocks may be used in hair salons to protect the clothing and skin of persons having their hair shampooed, cut, dyed, permed, or otherwise treated. Similarly, cosmeticians use protective garments such as smocks or capes to protect their patrons' clothing from cosmetics or other chemicals. Still other protective garments such as aprons, gowns, and robes are used by beauticians, barbers, cosmeticians and the like to protect their own clothing and skin while working with their patrons. As used hereinafter, the term “protective salon garment” will apply to all of the above.

[0005] Salon capes are one type of protective salon garment that is widely used. Salon capes typically comprise a sheet of fabric that can be draped over the shoulders and frontal portions of the upper and lower torso of a person and secured around the person's neck. Because salon capes are typically used to shield their wearers from hair clippings, they are often constructed of single-ply, water-permeable nylon or polyester fabric. Where impermeability to water or other liquids is desired, such capes may be constructed of vinyl or plastic sheets.

[0006] Protective smocks are commonly used to provide protection for the clothing and skin of persons when there is high risk of spills or there is an extensive use of chemicals such as hair dye or the like. Such smocks typically cover the entire upper and lower torso of a wearer in a seated position, including a wearer's entire back. Since such smocks must shield their wearers from liquids, they are typically constructed of water-impermeable vinyl or plastic sheets, or nylon or polyester fabrics with a water-impermeable plastic or vinyl coating. Because a person may become uncomfortably warm while wearing a smock of this known type, it is common for a person to remove his or her outer clothing, or a portion thereof, before donning such a smock.

[0007] Protective garments worn by barbers, beauticians, and cosmeticians include aprons, gowns, robes and the like. These garments are commonly constructed of a variety of materials, including nylon, polyester, or other synthetic textiles which are permeable to water and liquids.

[0008] While known salon capes and smocks may be effective to shield their wearers from liquids and hair clippings, they have a major shortcoming. Because the liquid impermeability of most fabrics is generally inversely proportional to breatheability, existing water-impermeable salon capes or smocks are substantially impervious to air and water vapor as well as liquids. Accordingly, water-impermeable capes and smocks can become extremely uncomfortable to their wearers, especially when they are worn for lengthy periods of time. These protective garments create a barrier to air circulation and convective cooling, thereby often causing persons wearing the capes or smocks to become uncomfortably warm. As a warmed person's skin sweats under such a cape or smock, a person's evaporating sweat cannot pass through the vapor impermeable material, thereby compounding the level of discomfort. The fabric may even stick to a person's sweaty arms or skin. Because a person may have to wear such a cape or smock for up to an hour or more, the level of discomfort can become great. In order to reduce the degree of discomfort, it may be necessary for a person to remove at least a portion of his or her outer clothing before donning such a garment.

[0009] In addition, known protective garments worn by barbers, hair stylists, beauticians, and cosmeticians suffer from this same shortcoming. Such garments include gowns, aprons, and the like. When constructed of breathable materials, these garments are not impermeable to liquids. Conversely, when constructed of liquid-impermeable materials, these garments are not breathable and therefore can be uncomfortable to wear for lengthy periods of time.

[0010] Therefore, there is a need for improved protective salon garments that are substantially impervious to water and other liquids, yet are sufficiently permeable to air and water vapor to be comfortable to wear for extended periods of time.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0011] One aspect of the present invention is an improved protective salon garment that includes a cloak portion comprised of substantially water impermeable textile barrier fabric. A preferred fabric is calendared, has a fluorochemical finish, and has an air permeability of between greater than zero and about 3 cubic feet per minute per square foot. The salon garment is provided with some type of fastener or other securing means for securing the cloak portion about a person's neck and torso. The cloak portion has a suitable size and shape to substantially cover desired portions of a person's torso. Preferably, the fluorochemical finish is fluorocarbon, and the fabric also includes an antimicrobial finish to protect against bacteria and mildew.

[0012] A preferred fabric is woven, includes synthetic warp and weft yarns having a weight of about 70 denier, and has a finished coverage of at least 200 ends per square inch. Synthetic yarns having a weight of between about 30 denier and about 250 denier may also be used. A preferred synthetic yarn filament is polyester, but nylon or polypropylene yarns may also be used to construct the barrier fabric. The preferred woven polyester fabric has a weight in a range from about 2.3 ounces per square yard to about 2.4 ounces per square yard. Thinner yarns down to about 30 denier yield a fabric weight of about 1.5 ounces per square yard, and heavier yarns up to about 250 denier yield a fabric weight of about 4.5 ounces per square yard. The fabric has a water resistance of at least 40 cm. (hydrostatic pressure test per AATCC-127), and a water vapor transmission rate that is between about 1000 g/24 hr/sq ft. and about 1100 g/24 hr/sq ft. (ASTM-E-96-00, Water Method, at 50% RH, upright cup).

[0013] In one embodiment of this invention, the protective garment is a salon cape and the cloak portion is a generally rectangular sheet with a collar end, a bottom end, and two opposing side edges. The collar end of the sheet includes a neck opening, wherein the neck opening divides the collar end of the sheet into left and right shoulder portions. The neck opening is centered between the two side edges and the left and right shoulder portions are substantially equal in size. A fastener is provided for securing the sheet about a person's neck. The fastener may include complementary fastener portions attached to the left and right collar portions adjacent to the neck opening which are capable of being fastened together to close the neck opening around a person's neck. The fasteners preferably comprise at least one set of snaps attached on opposed sides of the neck opening. Alternatively, the fastener portions may be matching hook and loop strips attached on opposed sides of the neck opening. Preferably, the protective sheet is substantially rectangular and the neck opening is a U-shaped cutout along the collar end. However, any configuration that is economical to produce and adequately covers the patron is satisfactory, as the specific fabric construction is not critical.

[0014] In another embodiment of the invention, the protective garment is a salon smock. In this embodiment, the cloak portion comprises a back portion, an inner front portion, an outer front portion, a collar opening, a pair of opposed sleeves, and at least one pair of ties. The inner and outer front portions each include a free edge and are shaped and sized to cooperatively overlap to cover the frontal area of a person's torso when the outer front portion overlaps the inner front portion. Some type of fastening means is provided at the collar opening for securing the smock about a person's neck when the inner and outer front portions are overlapped. The at least one pair of ties is arranged to secure the inner front portion and outer front portion in overlapping arrangement such that the overlapped front portions substantially cover the frontal area of a person wearing the smock. Because the improved smock is permeable to air and water vapor, it is unnecessary for a wearer to first remove at least a portion of his or her clothing to remain comfortably cool while wearing the smock for an extended period of time.

[0015] In a third embodiment of the invention, the protective garment is a stylist's gown which can be worn by a barber, stylist, beautician, or cosmetician. In this embodiment, the cloak portion includes a back portion, a first front portion, and a second front portion. The first and second front portions include front edges, and a securing means is provided for releasably connecting the front edges of the first and second front portions together such that the connected front portions substantially cover the frontal area of a person wearing the gown. The cloak portion of the gown may also include a pair of sleeves for protecting a stylist's arms.

[0016] Another embodiment of the invention is a stylist's apron. The apron includes a protective panel that is sized and shaped to substantially cover the frontal area of a person wearing the apron. The panel has an upper end and two lateral edges, and the panel is constructed of the substantially water-impermeable/air-permeable textile fabric described above. A neck strap includes first and second ends attached to the upper end of the panel to form a neck loop suitable for suspending the apron from a person's neck and shoulders. A pair of waist straps is provided for tying the apron about a persons waist.

[0017] In still another aspect of the invention, the invention includes a method of producing affordable protective garments for use by barbers, stylists, beauticians, and cosmeticians. The method first includes identifying a source of barrier fabric seconds, wherein the barrier fabric comprising the barrier fabric seconds has been produced for medical or other high technology applications, but does not meet the required fabric standards for the intended high technology applications. Next, the fabric seconds are procured from the source at a price that is substantially less than the price for barrier fabric which meets the standards required for the intended high technology applications. Finally, protective garments are produced from the procured fabric seconds.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0018] FIG. 1 is an environmental view of a salon cape according to the present invention;

[0019] FIG. 2 is a view of one embodiment of the salon cape of FIG. 1 shown laid flat;

[0020] FIG. 3 is a detail view of the neck opening and fastening means of the salon cape of FIG. 1;

[0021] FIG. 4 is a detail view of the neck opening similar to the view of FIG. 2, showing an alternate fastening means;

[0022] FIG. 5 is a perspective view of a salon smock according to the present invention.

[0023] FIG. 6 is a front view of a sleeveless stylist's gown according to the present invention;

[0024] FIG. 7 is a front view of a stylist's gown with sleeves according to the present invention; and

[0025] FIG. 8 is a front view of a stylist's apron according to the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

[0026] Referring now to the drawings in general and FIG. 1 in particular, it will be understood that the illustrations are for the purpose of describing a preferred embodiment of the invention and are not intended to limit the invention thereto. FIG. 1 illustrates a salon cape 10 according to the present invention draped about a seated person's shoulders and secured about the person's neck. The salon cape 10 comprises a protective sheet 12 with a U-shaped neck opening 14 that can be securely and comfortably fastened about the person's neck. The U-shaped opening 14 forms shoulder portions 16, 18. The protective sheet 12 covers the front upper torso of the person, and the shoulder portions 16, 18 fall over the shoulders and extend downward to cover at least a portion of the person's rear upper torso. The protective sheet 12 preferably is sufficiently long in the front to cover the lap of the person when seated in a barber's chair or the like.

[0027] In a preferred embodiment, the sheet 12 is about 59 inches wide and about 46.5 inches from top to bottom. The cape may be larger or smaller in size to accommodate particular applications of the invention. As a result of the fabric material and the size, a wearer's clothing is shielded from hair clippings, water, and other liquids and chemicals commonly used by barbers, hair stylists, beauticians, cosmeticians, and the like.

[0028] The salon cape 10 is illustrated in unfolded form in FIG. 2. The protective fabric sheet 12 is constructed of lightweight, water-repellant fabric. The composition and properties of the fabric are discussed in detail below. The protective sheet 12 is preferably rectangular as shown, and includes a bottom end 20, a collar end 22, and side edges 24. The ends and edges of the sheet 12 are preferably hemmed to prevent the sheet from unraveling and to provide a finished appearance. The hems are formed by folding approximately {fraction (1/2)} inch of the fabric along the edges and sewing the folded edges together with suitable thread.

[0029] The collar end 22 includes a neck opening 14. Preferably, the neck opening 14 is a U-shaped cutout centrally located along the collar end 22. A strip of fabric or collar 26 is sewn along the neck opening 14 as shown to provide a finished edge. As best seen in FIG. 3, complementary sets of snaps 25 are provided along the collar 26 for securing the neck opening around a person's neck. The complementary male and female snap portions are positioned and spaced along the collar 26 to permit the secured neck opening 14 to be adjusted to fit various neck sizes. Alternatively as shown in FIG. 4, complementary hook and loop strips 30 may be attached for adjustably securing the neck opening 14 about a person's neck. One or more loops 27 may be attached to the collar end 22 for hanging the salon cape on a coat hook or the like.

[0030] A preferred fabric for the sheet 12 is densely woven from fine denier synthetic yarns. The preferred textile is commonly referred to as a “barrier fabric” because of its high repellency to water and liquids. Such barrier fabrics have been developed and previously used for other “high tech” applications such as medical garments and drapes, and for clean room applications, but have not been heretofore adapted for use in a salon cape or salon garment. Commercially available barrier fabrics that are suitable for use in a salon cape or garment according to the present invention are sold under the trademark ComPel® by Standard Textile Co., Inc. and under the trademark Maxima® by Burlington Industries, Inc. Polyester is a preferable material for the sheet 12 because it is extremely lightweight, and is also highly resistant to even the most caustic chemicals commonly used to treat hair. Other synthetic materials such as nylon or polypropylene may also be used.

[0031] A preferred fabric has a weight of about 2.3 to 2.4 ounces per square yard, and is constructed of polyester warp and weft yarns having weights of about 70 denier. Yarns having a weight of between about 30 denier and about 250 denier may also be used, but yarn weights between about 70 denier and about 150 denier are most preferred. The term “densely woven fabric,” as used herein, means that the weaving process yields a finished coverage of at least about 200 threads per square inch for 70 denier yarns, and at least about 140 threads per square inch for 150 denier yarns. The term “finished coverage,” as used herein, means the total yarns in the warp and fill along adjacent sides.

[0032] As discussed above, barrier fabrics such as ComPel® and Maxima® are typically produced for “high tech” applications such as protective medical garments and clean room garments. Often, however, such fabrics are too costly for use in producing affordable protective garments for barbers, beauticians, cosmetologists, or the like. Effective barrier fabrics for use in the present invention can be produced to less demanding technical standards than for high tech applications in order to reduce their cost. Alternatively, fabrics which are specifically produced for medical uses or other high tech applications may occasionally fail to meet one or more of the stringent fabric standards required for such applications. For example, a particular lot of produced fabric may have an actual water resistance that is very good, but is still less than the water resistance required for an intended high tech application. Because such a lot of fabric may not be used for its intended purposes, the fabric becomes a so-called “second.” Such seconds may often be purchased at a cost substantially below the cost for fabrics which satisfy the original design requirements or specifications. This substantially reduced cost permits the barrier fabric to be used to produce affordable garments according to the present invention which have excellent resistance to water and liquids, yet are sufficiently porous to air as to be comfortable.

[0033] The preferred barrier fabric is constructed by first densely weaving the fine synthetic yarns. The fabric is woven so that the interlace of yarn filaments has only minute voids between the filaments. The woven fabric is then calendared with a heated steel roll under high pressure (e.g. greater than 2 tons) to compress the fabric to further close these minute voids. A fluorochemical finish is then applied to the fabric to further enhance the water resistance of the fabric. Preferably, this finish is a fluorocarbon. The resulting fabric is substantially impervious to liquids, but the remaining minute voids permit some air and vapor to pass through the fabric. More specifically, the fabric within the scope of the present invention preferably exhibits an air permeability in the range of greater than zero to about 3 ft3/min./ft2. This combination of water repellency and breatheability makes the fabric ideally suited for use in the improved salon garments described above. The fabric maintains its water repellency even after many machine washings. Therefore, the improved salon garments are reusable, and more cost effective than disposable salon garments. The breatheability of the fabric makes the improved salon garment much more comfortable to wear than vinyl, plastic, or other non-breathable salon garments. Because the salon garments are often exposed to water and moisture during their use, the fabric may include an antimicrobial finish formed by dipping the fabric in an antimicrobial agent. The antimicrobial finish inhibits the growth of bacteria and mildew on the garments.

[0034] Typical water resistance/resistance, air permeability, and water vapor transmission properties of the preferred fabric for the sheet 12 are summarized below in Table 1: 1

TABLE 1
Typical Sheet Fabric Properties
Water Resistance:
Spray Test rating per AATCC 22-1996≧70
Water Resistance:
Hydrostatic Pressure Test per≧40 cm.
AATCC 127-1998
Air Permeability
per ASTM-D-737>0-3 ft3/min./ft2
Water Vapor Transmission (upright cup)
per ASTM-E-96-00 (Water method900-1100 g/24 hr/ft2
at 50% RH)

[0035] These typical fabric properties are presented to describe a preferred embodiment of the invention, and are not intended to limit the invention thereto. Any other suitable fabric with a combination of similar properties may also be used without departing from the scope of the present invention. Where such properties are recited in the claims which follow, the properties are defined with reference to the testing standards identified in Table 1.

[0036] Another embodiment of the invention is a salon smock as shown in FIG. 5. The smock 40 includes a back panel (not shown), an inner front panel 41, an outer front panel 43, a collar opening 44, a pair of opposed sleeves 46, a pair of inside ties 48, and a pair of outside ties 49. The inner front panel 41 and outer front panel 43 are shaped and sized to cooperatively overlap to cover the frontal area of a person's torso when the outer front panel 43 overlaps the inner front panel 41. The inside ties 48 secure the inside front panel 41 to an inside surface of the smock as shown in FIG. 5. The smock is further secured about a wearer's body by the outside ties 49 which can be tied together to secure the outside front panel 43 over the inside front panel 41. Though two pairs of ties are preferred, a single pair of ties may be sufficient to adequately secure the smock about a wearer's torso. Adjustable fastening means such as snaps 42 may be provided along the collar opening 44 for further securing the front panels 41, 43 together in the area of a wearer's neck and shoulders. The smock 40 provides near complete front and rear coverage of a person's torso and arms, and may be preferable over salon cape 10 for certain salon procedures. The back panel and front panels 41, 43 are preferably constructed of the same textile fabric as the salon cape embodiment described above.

[0037] While the protective garments described above are primarily intended to be worn by salon patrons, the invention also includes improved protective garments to be worn by barbers, hair stylists, cosmeticians and the like. FIG. 6 illustrates an improved sleeveless stylist's gown 50. Gown 50 includes a back panel 52, a first front panel 54, and a second front panel 56. The gown 50 includes a neck opening 53 and arm openings 55. Fasteners such as snaps or buttons 58 are provided to connect the front panels 54, 56 together along their front edges to cover the frontal area of a person wearing the gown. Pockets 57 may also be provided on the front panels 54, 56. The back panel 52 and front panels 54, 56 are preferably constructed of the same textile fabric as the salon cape and salon smock embodiments described above.

[0038] FIG. 7 illustrates an improved stylist's gown 60 with sleeves 65 for added protection. Gown 60 includes a back panel 62, a first front panel 64, and a second front panel 66. The gown 60 includes a neck opening 63 and a pair of long sleeves 65. Alternatively, the sleeves 65 may be short sleeves if desired. Fasteners such as snaps or buttons 68 are provided to connect the front panels 64, 66 together along their front edges to cover the frontal area of a person wearing the gown. Pockets 67 may also be provided on the front panels 64 and/or 66. The back panel 62, front panels 64, 66, and sleeves 65 are preferably constructed of the same textile fabric as described in detail above for the other embodiments.

[0039] The invention also includes a salon apron as illustrated in FIG. 8. The apron 70 includes a protective panel 72 that is sized and shaped to substantially cover the frontal area of a person wearing the apron. A neck strap 74 has a first end and a second end attached to the upper end 73 of the panel 72 to form a loop suitable for placement about a persons shoulders and neck. First and second waist straps 76, 77 are connected to lateral edges of the panel 72 for tying together about a person's waist to secure the apron 70 to the person's frontal area. One or more pockets 78 may be arranged on an outer portion of the panel 72. The panel 72 is preferably constructed of the same textile fabric as described in detail above for the other embodiments.

[0040] While this invention has been illustrated and described in accordance with preferred embodiments, it is recognized that variations and changes may be made therein without departing from the invention as set forth in the claims. Certain modifications and improvements will occur to those skilled in the art upon a reading of the forgoing description. By way of example, while the salon cape described above is generally rectangular in shape, it is contemplated that the cape may have a generally round or oval shape. Also, other suitable means for fastening the neck opening about a persons neck such as hooks or clips may be used. Further, the smock, protective gowns, and apron described above may be altered in general shape and appearance from the specific examples illustrated in the Figures without departing from the invention. It should be understood that all such modifications are not contained herein for the sake of conciseness and readability, but are properly within the scope of the following claims.