Title:
Adjustable shirt-tapering system
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The circumference of a shirt's waistline, i.e., the taper, is continuously adjustable through the use of a releasable fastening device having a first portion that is releasably attachable to a second portion. The first portion and the second portion are complementary to one another and are located in one plane of the shirt fabric, on a side away from the wearer. The releasable fastening device is located below the beltline of the trousers worn with the shirt so that it is unnoticeable, and is light weight so as to be unobtrusive. To adjust the taper, the shirt is folded so that at least some extent of one of the first and second portions is positioned on top of the other and releasably fastened thereto.



Inventors:
Johnson, David B. (Alexandria, VA, US)
Schmidt, Jeffrey A. (Arlington, VA, US)
Application Number:
10/361767
Publication Date:
08/12/2004
Filing Date:
02/11/2003
Assignee:
JOHNSON DAVID B.
SCHMIDT JEFFREY A.
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A41D1/04; A41D1/18; A41D15/00; (IPC1-7): A41D1/18
View Patent Images:
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20100095436REMOVABLE LINER FOR CROTCH OF TROUSERSApril, 2010Giles
20080000015Low protrusion safety fastener for ballistic helmetJanuary, 2008Sutter et al.
20070204377FLOATING HARNESSSeptember, 2007Mordecai et al.
20030028950Lycramed stretchable hospital scrub topFebruary, 2003Walsh
20070006358Sanitary armpit padJanuary, 2007Rey
20040261180Infant sleep supportDecember, 2004Birns
20070204419Glove/mitten eraserSeptember, 2007Lewis et al.
20070192933Spectacle support systemAugust, 2007Kam



Primary Examiner:
HOEY, ALISSA L
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
David B.J ohnson (Washington, DC, US)
Claims:
1. A shirt comprising: fabric shaped into a torso section and a waistline, the fabric comprising a front, a back, sides, an inner portion facing towards an inner position at which a wearer of the shirt would be located, and an outer portion facing away from the inner position, the torso section further comprising a longitudinal axis; and a releasable fastening device attached adjacent the waistline, the releasable fastening device comprising a first portion of a two-complementary-part releasable fastener, and a second portion of a two-complimentary-part releasable fastener, wherein the first portion and the second portion are complementary to one another and are located in one plane of the fabric so as to face away from the inner position.

2. The shirt according to claim 1, wherein the first portion and second portion extend along an axis that is substantially perpendicular to the longitudinal axis of the torso section, and are positioned so as to abut one another at ends thereof.

3. The shirt according to claim 1, wherein the first portion comprises one of hook and loop fasteners and the second portion comprises the other of hook and loop fasteners.

4. The shirt according to claim 1, wherein the first and second portions comprise complementary magnetic strips.

5. The shirt according to claim 1, wherein the first portion comprises a repositionable adhesive material and the second portion comprises a receiving member.

6. The shirt according to claim 1, wherein the releasable fastening device is located on one of the sides.

7. The shirt according to claim 6, further comprising a second releasable fastening device located on the other one of the sides.

8. The shirt according to claim 1, wherein the releasable fastening device is located below the waistline.

9. The shirt according to claim 1, further comprising a cover member attached to the releasable fastening device, the cover member comprising a first section and a second section, wherein the first section comprises a part of a two-complementary-part fastener that is complementary to the first portion, and the second section comprises a part of a two-complementary-part fastener that is complementary to the second portion.

10. A shirt comprising: fabric shaped into a torso section and a waistline, the fabric comprising a front, a back, sides, an inner portion facing towards an inner position at which a wearer of the shirt would be located, and an outer portion facing away from the inner position, the torso section further comprising a longitudinal axis; and means for continuously adjusting the taper of the shirt, wherein the means for continuously adjusting is disposed adjacent the waistline, and is disposed in one plane of the fabric so as to face away from the inner position.

11. The shirt according to claim 10, wherein the means for continuously adjusting extends along an axis that is substantially perpendicular to the longitudinal axis of the torso section, and is positioned so that complementary parts thereof abut one another.

12. The shirt according to claim 10, wherein means for continuously adjusting is located on one of the sides.

13. The shirt according to claim 12, further comprising a second means for continuously adjusting located on the other one of the sides.

14. The shirt according to claim 10, wherein the means for continuously adjusting is located below the waistline.

15. The shirt according to claim 10, further comprising a cover member attached to the releasable fastening device, the cover member comprising means for attaching to the means for continuously adjusting.

16. A method for adjusting the taper of a shirt while being worn by a body, comprising: placing a thumb over a section of material along a circumference of the shirt adjacent a waistline; gathering excess material from the circumference of the shirt; folding the excess material over the thumb; sliding the thumb out of the folded excess material; and attaching the fold to a remaining portion of the shirt using a releasable fastening device.

17. The method according to claim 16, wherein said step of gathering excess material comprises grabbing excess material between at least one finger and either said thumb or a palm of a hand, and further wherein said step of attaching the fold comprises sliding the at least one finger forward while pressing the fold toward the body with the at least one finger.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0001] 1. Field of the Invention

[0002] This invention relates to adjustable clothing and, in particular, adjustable shirts, blouses, tops, T-shirts, uniforms, surgical gown, or any other fashion-type garment, or the like that would cover the upper torso of a body (hereinafter referred to simply as “shirt” for convenience and not by way of limitation). More specifically, the invention relates to a shirt that resists becoming untucked, due to an adjustable waistline, thereby helping avoid a potentially messy and untidy appearance.

[0003] 2. Related Art

[0004] The vast majority of people buy off-the-shelf or stock shirts rather than custom made shirts. Stock shirts are sold either by a combination of neck size and arm length measurements alone or simply in small, medium, large, and extra large sizes, with no accounting for variations in torso or waist size or configuration, except for some manufacturers which also provide a choice limited to either a full cut or a tapered cut. Two people having the same neck size and arm lengths may vary greatly in the waist and torso size and shape. For any given shirt size, i.e., any particular combination of neck size and arm length, the shirt manufacturer will size the torso and waist dimensions to accommodate the largest reasonably expected dimensions, because a smaller user can wear a shirt with large waist and torso dimensions, but a larger user cannot fit into waist and torso dimensions sized to fit average or thin people. This means that the majority of people wearing shirts will have excess shirt material in the lower back and waist area. This material will bunch up in an unsightly manner when the shirt tail is tucked into the waistband of pants.

[0005] Further, after people stand up or move around, shirts often become un-tucked because there is nothing holding them in place. The present invention is intended to alleviate this and other problems. There have been ideas to help hold a shirt in place, but such have been feeble attempts to solve the problem of accurately fitting a shirt to its wearer. Additionally, none of the prior art devices has the simplicity, ability to accommodate a large range of peoples' sizes due to continuous adjustability, and other concepts as in the presently disclosed invention. Further, none of these other inventions allows the user to easily adjust the shirt while wearing it, as does the present invention, which is a simple yet elegant solution to the age-old problem of shirts becoming un-tucked. Seven groups, exemplifying different concepts, of the prior art attempts are discussed below.

[0006] A first group of patents relates to adjustable garments and, in particular, to tops that can be adjusted at the waist. However, these devices are generally more complex and bulky than the present invention, and do not provide the user with a simple manner of adjusting the garment while wearing it.

[0007] U.S. Pat. No. 6,374,414 deals with an adjustment system that can be used for garments or other articles and provides a configuration that is utilized in adjusting the length of a section of a garment. While the '414 patent appears similar in its purpose to that of the present invention, it does not pertain to a tapering mechanism for a shirt; instead, it is designed for outer gear worn in the outdoors, wherein the adjustment mechanism is designed to keep the elements away from the wearer. Although the '414 patent mentions suitability for a shirt waist, there is no disclosure as to how or why such would be carried out. Further, the focus of this patent is outdoor gear. Moreover, the device of the '414 patent is much more complex and, therefore, costly, than is the present invention, as well as is more difficult to manufacture than is the present invention. The device of the '414 patent requires a mechanism for automatically providing a flap in the material to which it is attached and is thus more bulky than is the present invention.

[0008] U.S. Pat. No. 1,560,218 incorporates two elastic strips that are designed to adjust the waistline of a garment, although the elastic will cause the material randomly to bunch up causing discomfort to the wearer. In addition, U.S. Pat. No. 2,137,563 uses elastic members and clasps to adjust the waistline of a shirt, which makes it potentially difficult to control the operation and uncomfortable to the wearer. Further, this device is complex in construction and is likely difficult to manufacture.

[0009] U.S. Pat. No. 2,398,258 utilizes snaps and tabs incorporated into a complex mechanism for adjusting the waistline of a shirt. The snaps and tabs are likely to be uncomfortable for the user, and are less effective as well as more uncomfortable, as more excess material gathers. Further, the snaps do not provide for a continuous adjustability but, instead, only for discrete changes in the size. As with U.S. Pat. No. 1,560,218 and U.S. Pat. No. 2,137,563, this invention serves a function similar to one associated with the adjustable shirt-tapering system of the present invention, but is not as easy to use, not as comfortable, is likely more expensive and difficult to manufacture, and is potentially less effective.

[0010] U.S. Pat. No. 5,839,628 entitled “Folding Attachment for Shirt Backs” has an object similar to one associated with the adjustable shirt-tapering system of the present invention. However, the '628 patent has an entirely different structure than the adjustable shirt-tapering system of the present invention. The invention of the '628 patent is a device that is attached to a shirt and is comprised of a central member and two wing members that fold to form a single, smooth pleat of excess shirt material on each side of the wearer. First, it is not continuously adjustable, as is the adjustable shirt-tapering system of the present invention. Instead, the device of the '628 patent allows for only two sizes; one with the outer wing members open, and another with the outer wing members folded back against the central member of a tri-fold rigid member. Second, the device of the '628 patent is made of plastic or cardboard, and does not use flexible strip fasteners such as Velcro™. Therefore, the device of the '628 patent is uncomfortable for the user. In contrast, the adjustable shirt-tapering system of the present invention is comprised of thin fastening strip that will not cause discomfort (or even be noticeable) to the wearer of a shirt because it is very light weight and unobtrusive.

[0011] A second group of inventions relates to adjustable clothing, but does not relate to the waistline. Examples of inventions in this group include U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,692,240 and 4,825,472, which are designed to adjust a neckband/collar using Velcro™. Additionally, in this group is U.S. Pat. No. 4,412,357, which utilizes adjustable straps to constrain the breasts of a female athlete wearing this specific shirt. This concept relates to adjusting a shirt to a specific person's individual situation, but once more, there is no teaching of adjusting a shirttail to a specific taper. Instead, this device adjusts the size of the shirt at the chest.

[0012] A third group of patents relates to adjustability of garments in general.

[0013] U.S. Pat. No. 6,282,717 is designed to allow different-sized persons to be able to wear a shirt as the shirt can be adjusted. This invention uses drawstrings to connect separate panels of a shirt together so that the size thereof can be adjusted. This invention disadvantageously makes the shirt look strange, thereby reducing its marketing appeal. Further, the device of the '717 patent is complex to use and manufacture. In contrast, the adjustable shirt-tapering system of the present invention is easy to manufacture and use, as well as is applicable to shirts that are not noticeably different in outward appearance than typical fashion garments. That is, one would not be able to differentiate between a person wearing a specific shirt style, and another person wearing that same shirt but having an adjustable shirt-tapering system according to the present invention.

[0014] U.S. Pat. No. 5,170,505 is designed to adjust a child's garment utilizing hook and loop type connections and is different because it uses a more complex configuration than the adjustable shirt-tapering system of the present invention. The purpose of the invention in the '525 patent is similar to one of the purposes of the adjustable shirt-tapering system of the present invention, but is more specific in scope. The adjustable shirt-tapering system of the present invention has wider applicability and a more simple design.

[0015] A fourth group of patents relates to pants in general and, more particularly, to devices to holding up pants, or adjusting them.

[0016] U.S. Pat. No. 5,867,836 is designed to hold up a pair of trousers or a skirt. This invention utilizes Velcro™ strips, but does not pertain to tapering a shirt, is not intended to be used with shirts, and does not provide any adjustability to the pants.

[0017] U.S. Pat. No. 5,575,010 incorporates numerous snaps and hook and loop materials to adjust the waistband area of pants. The '010 patent pertains to the waist area for pants and not for shirts. Further, the snaps do not provide for a continuous adjustment, and the hook and loop materials are provided only to vary the length of the pant legs.

[0018] U.S. Pat. No. 4,677,699 entitled “Waist Band Adjustment for Garment” is similar in design to U.S. Pat. No. 5,575,010, but both pertain to waistline adjustment of pants. Neither one of these patents pertain to adjustment of shirts.

[0019] A fifth group of patents relates to clothing anchoring apparatuses. These apparatuses help to hold the garment in place, but to not adjust the size of the garment so as to better fit its wearer.

[0020] U.S. Pat. No. 5,177,813 is another patent that relates to maintaining a neat appearance of a shirt through the use of elastic straps that hold a shirt in place. The straps do not come as part of the shirt and, while they do hold the shirt in place, they do not adjust the size of the shirt to the respective waistline of the individual. Because they are often wrapped around the individual's legs that are wearing them, the straps in the shirttail harness of the '813 patent are potentially uncomfortable to wear and have a possibility of coming loose, thus requiring re-attachment. Further, because this shirttail retaining harness is adapted with the straps thereof passing along the inside of the thighs of the wearer in the crotch area, it is very different from the adjustable shirt-tapering system of the present invention in both structure and design. U.S. Pat. No. 5,313,669 is similar in concept and function to the '813 patent as it is designed to anchor both the front and back tails of a shirt by securing them downwardly into the crotch area of a wearer. This invention is potentially uncomfortable and is not easily adjustable. In addition, the invention of the '813 patent is not a part of the shirt itself, as is an embodiment of the adjustable shirt-tapering system of the present invention. Further, the invention of the '813 patent does not provide for adjustability of the shirt's waistline.

[0021] U.S. Pat. No. 4,853,979 entitled “Releasable Securing Means for an Infant's Shirt” is designed to provide a means to secure an infant's shirt in place through use of elastic strips on both the shirt front and shirt back by incorporating button clips that provide for a releasable fastening means. This invention has a purpose of keeping the infant's clothing from becoming twisted and pulled out of normal position, but does not adjust the size of the shirt itself.

[0022] Also in this group are U.S. Pat. No. 4,596,569 and U.S. Pat. No. 4,074,364 entitled “Hold Down Device for Shirts and the Like”, which uses an elastic hip band that is intended to be worn around the hips. Tabs are also utilized around this hip band to secure the lower portion of a shirt to the tabs to keep the shirt neatly tucked in and in place. This device does not adjust the waistline of the shirt, and is not a part of the shirt itself.

[0023] A sixth group of patents pertains to releasably connecting clothing together in general.

[0024] U.S. Pat. No. 6,449,775 pertains to a band or connecting belt that is used between articles of clothing or parts of them. This patent utilizes Velcro™ in its design, but works to connect garments and doesn't relate to adjusting the size of a shirt. U.S. Pat. No. 6,397,393 is similar to the '775 patent, as it also is designed to connect shirts and trousers through use of a self-releasing bond. But the invention of the '393 patent is not designed to taper a shirt.

[0025] Lastly, a seventh group of patents relates to garments having specialized features, but that do not include any adjustability of the waistline so as to change a shirt's taper.

[0026] U.S. Pat. No. 6,353,935 utilizes a snap system in a tennis shirt that helps a tennis player retrieve tennis balls for use during play. This invention does offer an alternative mechanism in the form of Velcro™, but is not positioned to taper the shirt; instead, it merely lifts a flap of the shirt so as to expose a pants pocket, whereby tennis balls may easily be removed from the pocket.

[0027] U.S. Pat. No. 4,466,135 utilizes Velcro™ as a means to secure bulletproof pads within a shirt but does not include an adjustment mechanism to taper the shirt or adapt its size to appropriately accommodate the contour of an individual's waistline area.

[0028] U.S. Pat. No. 4,100,622 entitled “Shirt Construction”, involves an untucked shirt and is designed to accommodate access to pockets on pants without the inconvenience of pulling up a shirt that is untucked. It is the object of that invention “to provide a shirt construction having one or more flaps adjacent the lower periphery thereof which facilitate access to the pants pocket when the shirt is not tucked into to the trousers of the wearer.” U.S. Pat. No. 4,100,622 provides the wearer with a convenient method for reaching their trousers pockets that are covered by a shirt, but does not provide any type of means for adjusting or tapering the shirt to appropriately adjust it to fit the wearer.

[0029] This group also includes U.S. Pat. No. 5,715,538 as well as U.S. Pat. No. 4,967,420, both of which are directed to the neck area of the top, not to the waistline or shirt taper.

SUMMARY

[0030] As can be seen from the above, there have been several patents on inventions pertaining to various articles of clothing that are adjustable to some extent, or have specialized features. None of these inventions, however, specifically keeps a shirt tucked in neatly in a simple yet elegant manner, as does the present invention. Further, none of the inventions in the prior art have adjusting mechanisms, positioned adjacent the waistline below the belt line, on the shirt itself that allow the user to adjust the shirt while wearing it. Releasable fasteners, including Velcro™, have wide application but, heretofore, have not been used to hold the taper of a shirt-including the sides and back that often hang loosely and become untucked-in place.

[0031] Thus, the present invention has been designed with the above-noted problems in mind. The present invention has, as one of its objects, overcoming the problems in the prior art. In accordance with the present invention, the adjustable shirt-tapering system will allow a wearer to snugly adjust the shirt, while wearing it, by folding over the releasable fastening devices that are located below the waistline. Because the user easily can adjust the shirt while wearing it, the adjustment is infinitely more accurate than the prior art devices that require the user to first adjust the shirt before putting it on. With the construction and arrangement of the present invention, the user is able to adjust and achieve a perfectly tapered waistline for their shirt without the time and expense of visiting a tailor. Sitting and then standing can make shirts come “untucked” causing a messy appearance. Constantly tucking shirts back into place can also be a nuisance. The releasable fastening devices of embodiments of the present invention, attached directly onto the shirttail below the waistline, will keep the shirt tucked in properly. This will eliminate the natural tendency for shirts to become untucked. The releasable fastening devices are located, for example, below a respective waistline, so that they remain concealed below the beltline. Further, the releasable fastening devices are very light weight and unobtrusive so the shirt to which they are attached is very comfortable to the wearer. Although embodiments of the present invention include two releasable fastening devices-one on each side of the shirt-it is possible to provide only one releasable fastening device on the shirt. However, with the latter construction, the amount of adjustment, as well as the appearance of the shirt after adjustment, are reduced. However, the latter arrangement offers a cost savings and further ease of manufacturing the shirt. Still further, more than two releasable fastening devices may be used. For example, one, three, four, five, etc.

[0032] Embodiments of the present invention will also assist parents by allowing them to get more use out of clothing for their children as they grow. The adjustable shirt-tapering system of the present invention could be used for a child who has a shirt that is slightly too large, but will fit well after some growth. The releasable fastening devices are very safe and children run no risk of hurting themselves as they might with a metal fastening apparatus. This invention will also help senior citizens, as it is easy to use and would not hurt an older person if they were to potentially fall or lose balance and knock into something. Finally, this invention has a purpose of promoting safety in surgical or other types of environments where loose fitting clothing might actually get in the way of procedures being conducted. Because of the ease in using and manufacturing garments with the adjustable shirt-tapering system of the present invention, as well as due to the low cost of producing such a garment, the present invention has a wide range of applicability. One goal of the invention is to provide a simple, inexpensive, safe, comfortable, unobtrusive, and convenient manner for achieving the result of keeping a shirt tucked in and nicely tapered without having to use external materials that cause the individual wearing the shirt to be uncomfortable, or that cause the user much frustration in attempting to adjust the shirt, try it on, and then readjust the size because the first adjustment was not quite right. Because it is a very lightweight addition to the shirt and is integrated directly onto the shirt, and it is easy to use and is concealed, this sturdy device will achieve all of the above-noted objects and advantages, as well as will successfully eliminate the problem of shirts that do not fit quite right in the waist. This invention can be used by everyone and has a myriad of useful and practical purposes.

OBJECTS AND ADVANTAGES

[0033] a) To make shirts appear neater in appearance and significantly improve overall personal appearance.

[0034] b) To help facilitate achieving and maintaining a properly tucked shirt that looks professional and enhances overall appearance.

[0035] c) To help compensate for a shirt that is too large in the waist area.

[0036] d) To help compensate if a person loses weight in the waistline area by allowing a shirt's tuck area to be adjusted more snugly.

[0037] e) To assist individuals who are overweight and experience difficulty keeping their shirts tucked in, as the adjustable releasable fastening devices will keep the shirt fitting appropriately around the waistline.

[0038] f) To allow for a shirt to be adjusted throughout the day if necessary. If a person eats a large meal and wishes to relax the shirt accordingly, this invention makes that possible.

[0039] g) To minimize the problem of constantly tucking shirts in and always repositioning shirttails that come out of place.

[0040] h) To allow easy adjustments at any time on a shirt and prevent a person from being locked into a particular size. This would be particularly true for growing children. If someone gains too much weight, they often cannot wear a shirt that they may truly enjoy because it is too tight around the sides. This invention would allow an individual to buy a shirt that is looser fitting and adjust it appropriately.

[0041] i) To allow for a more professional appearance for individuals who are required to wear a uniform for work, such as military members, police officers, paramedics, etc.

[0042] j) To provide increased safety due to a shirt that does not allow the excess cloth to come untucked and subsequently get caught up in machinery or any other type of equipment where shirts can get caught.

[0043] k) To assist parents by allowing them to get more use out of clothing for their children. The adjustable shirt-tapering system of the present invention could be used for a child who has a shirt that is slightly too large, but will fit well after some growth. Also, due to the continuously adjustable nature of the adjustable shirt-tapering system, the garment could be adjusted during various stages of the child's growth.

[0044] l) To provide a safe shirt adjusting system that minimizes children hurting themselves as they might with some sort of metal fastening apparatus.

[0045] m) To help older people adjust their clothing and be safe enough so they would not hurt themselves if they were to potentially fall or lose their balance and knock into something.

[0046] n) To promote safety in surgical or other types of environments where loose fitting clothing might actually get in the way of procedures being conducted.

DRAWING FIGURES

[0047] The above and other objects and advantages of the present invention will become more apparent by describing in detail preferred embodiments thereof with reference to the accompanying drawings, wherein like reference numerals designate like or corresponding parts throughout the several views, and wherein:

[0048] FIG. 1 is a schematic right-side view of a shirt including releasable fastening devices according to a first embodiment of the present invention;

[0049] FIG. 2 is a schematic left-side view of a shirt including releasable fastening devices according to the first embodiment;

[0050] FIG. 3 is a schematic right-side view of a shirt including releasable fastening devices according to a second embodiment of the present invention;

[0051] FIG. 4 is a schematic left-side view of a shirt including releasable fastening devices according to the second embodiment;

[0052] FIG. 5 is a schematic back view of a shirt including releasable fastening devices according to a third embodiment of the present invention;

[0053] FIG. 6 is a schematic back view of a shirt including releasable fastening devices according to a fourth embodiment of the present invention;

[0054] FIG. 7 is an enlarged view of the portion of a shirt including a releasable fastening device according to the various embodiments of the present invention; and

[0055] FIG. 8 is a schematic view of a cover member according to the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF EMBODIMENTS OF THE INVENTION

[0056] This idea is the first of its kind that addresses the problem of an untucked shirt by attaching a continuously adjustable releasable fastening device directly onto the shirt to eliminate the problem in a simple yet elegant manner. The messy appearance of shirts can be irritating, and constantly having to tuck in or readjust a shirt can be a nuisance to the wearer. This invention will be a great benefit to individuals who want to maintain a neat appearance, or have the benefit of a custom fit shirt, without the hassle and cost of tailoring.

[0057] Various embodiments of the invention will be described with reference to the figures.

[0058] A first embodiment of the present invention is shown in FIGS. 1 and 2. A shirt 1 includes a waistline 6 on or about the position of where a beltline on a pair of trousers would fall when worn together with the shirt. The waistline of the shirt, i.e., the taper, is adjustable through the use of a releasable fastening device attached to the shirt 1. The releasable fastening device includes a first portion 2 of a two-complementary-part releasable fastener, and a second portion 4 of a two-complimentary-part releasable fastener. The releasable fastening device may be attached to the shirt in any known and customary manner of attachment as known in the garment industry. The first portion 2 and the second portion 4 are complementary to one another and are located along one plane of the shirt fabric, on the side away from the wearer, i.e., the outside of the shirt, so as to face away from the wearer. However, because the releasable fastening device is located below the beltline of the trousers worn with the shirt, it is entirely unnoticeable to persons looking at the wearer of the shirt. When the shirt is unadjusted, the first and second portions 2, 4 face outward from the wearer of the shirt. Additionally, in this state, the portions of the releasable fastening devices lie in one plane extending along the fabric of the shirt. With such a configuration, the shirt provides no uncomfortable bunches or gathers, which is beneficial for the wearer that does not require any additional taper than that already provided to the shirt in the “off the shelf” condition. When the shirt is adjusted using the adjustable shirt-tapering system of the present invention, the shirt will be folded so that at least some extent of one of the first and second portions 2, 4 will be positioned on top of the other.

[0059] The two-complementary-part releasable fastener can be constructed of, for example, Velcro™, hook and loop or pile fasteners, oppositely polarized flexible magnetic strips, repositionable adhesive material and a receiving member, and the like, each of which provides a means for continuously adjusting the taper of the shirt. For further example, the first portion 2 may be a male Velcro™ whereas the second portion 4 may be a female Velcro™, or vise-versa. Alternatively, for example, the first and second portions 2, 4, respectively can be north and south polarized flexible magnetic strips, or vise-versa. As a still further alternative, for example, the first and second portions 2, 4, respectively can be a repositionable adhesive material and a receiving member, or vise versa. In a preferred embodiment of the invention, Velcro™, or hook and loop/pile, fasteners are used, wherein the hook portion is the second portion 4. That is, in the preferred embodiment, the second portion 4 will remain facing outward and, therefore, to increase the comfort of the user, will be the hook portion. At least part of the first portion 2, in the preferred embodiment, will be folded over to mate with the second portion and, thus, will come into a position wherein it faces towards the user. Accordingly, it is preferred to have this material be the more soft loop or pile part of the two-complementary-part fastener. Of course, the shirt could be folded over so that the second portion 4 mates with the first, but the opposite is a more natural manner of grabbing the shirt while wearing it.

[0060] Now, an exemplary manner of using the adjustable shirt-tapering system of the present invention will be described. In order to taper the shirt for a custom fit, the wearer need only place his thumb over some portion of the releasable fastening device, preferably at the divide between the first 2 and second 4 portions thereof. Then, between at least one finger and palm (or between at least one finger and the thumb), the wearer grabs the shirt so as to gather the excess material from the circumference of the shirt, and pulls it over his thumb to provide a custom tapered fit. Then, while sliding the thumb out of the fold, the wearer smoothes the fold forward with his finger while moving the hand forward. By forming a fold in the foregoing manner, the first portion 2 of the releasable fastening device will be placed on top of the second portion 4 and attached thereto to secure the taper of the shirt. Because this adjustment of the shirt can be performed while wearing it, the shirt will have a perfectly accurate custom fit every time, even if the user or shirt has slightly changed sizes since the last wearing of the shirt. And this fixation of the releasable fastening device is very simple to perform.

[0061] In this embodiment of the invention, the first 2 and second 4 portions of the releasable fastening device abut one another at their longitudinal ends. Such an arrangement provides for even the smallest of adjustments to the shirt. Also, in this embodiment, the releasable fastening device is located on the sides of the shirt. Although a releasable fastening device is shown on each side of the shirt, there need only be one to provide adjustability to the shirt. However, two releasable fastening devices are preferred in order to provide a greater amount of adjustability, as well as to make symmetrical the amount of material gathered on each side of the shirt, thereby enhancing the appearance of the wearer.

[0062] A second embodiment of the present invention is shown in FIGS. 3 and 4. In this embodiment of the present invention, like reference numerals identify like parts of the adjustable shirt-tapering system. Accordingly, only the differences from the first embodiment will be explained. In this embodiment, the first 2 and second 4 portions of the releasable fastening device are positioned so that their ends do not abut. Instead, there is a space between them. As shown in FIG. 7, the distance V between the first 2 and second 4 portions of the releasable fastening device is variable. In the first embodiment, this distance is zero. With the arrangement of the second embodiment, a greater amount of adjustment may be made at the expense of the very smallest adjustment. However, this greater amount of adjustment may be made with the same length of releasable fastening device, thereby reducing costs due to the use of the minimum amount of releasable fastening device as is necessary to achieve a target amount of adjustability.

[0063] A third embodiment of the present invention is shown in FIG. 5. Again, in this embodiment of the present invention, like reference numerals identify like parts of the adjustable shirt-tapering system. Accordingly, only the differences from the first embodiment will be explained. In this embodiment, the releasable fastening device is positioned more toward the back of the shirt than on the sides, as in the first and second embodiments.

[0064] A fourth embodiment of the present invention is shown in FIG. 6. Again, in this embodiment of the present invention, like reference numerals identify like parts of the adjustable shirt-tapering system. Accordingly, only the differences from the first embodiment will be explained. In this embodiment, the releasable fastening device is positioned more toward the back of the shirt than on the sides, as in the first and second embodiments. Further, as in the second embodiment, the first 2 and second 4 portions of the releasable fastening device do not abut one another.

[0065] Throughout the various embodiments of the invention, the releasable fastening device is positioned so as to longitudinally extend in a direction substantially perpendicular to a longitudinal axis 8 of the shirt, i.e. substantially parallel to the beltline of trousers worn with the shirt. However, the releasable fastening device may be positioned oblique to the longitudinal axis 8, without changing the principle and operation of the adjustable shirt-tapering system of the present invention. As a practical matter, however, the greater the angle at which the releasable fastening device is positioned, the potentially less comfortable and effective the adjustable shirt-tapering system will be. That is, the more oblique the arrangement, the less the amount of adjustment around the circumference (for a given length releasable fastening device) and the more pull down on the shirt. The latter effect potentially makes the shirt less comfortable to the wearer.

[0066] In FIG. 7, the relative positions of the first 2 and second 4 portions, with respect to each other as well as with respect to the waistline 6 are shown. Further, the dimensions of the first 2 and second 4 portions are shown. The first 2 and second 4 portions of the releasable fastening device are placed at a distance V apart from one another. As noted above, this distance V may be zero, as in the case of the first and third embodiments. When the distance V is greater than zero, its particular value depends upon the amount of variability that is desired. Each of the first 2 and second 4 portions is shown with a width W and longitudinal length L. In the preferred embodiment, the widths W of the first 2 and second 4 portions are the same, as are their lengths L. However, the widths W need not be the same, nor do the lengths need be the same. Lastly, with respect to positioning and dimensions, the first 2 and second 4 portions of the releasable fastening device are positioned at a depth D below the waistline 6. The depth D is variable, but preferably is such that the releasable fastening device is placed below the beltline of the user. That is, if the belt of the user lies on top of the releasable fastening device, it may be uncomfortable for the user, especially users who tighten their belts beyond that required to keep up their pants. Further, if the top of the releasable fastening device is placed just below the beltline, the releasable fastening device will assist in keeping the shirt from pulling out of the trousers. That is, the releasable fastening device will provide a stop member that can abut against the trousers as squeezed by the belt to thereby assist in preventing the shirt from pulling out of the trousers without engaging the sensitive crotch area of the wearer.

[0067] FIG. 8 shows a cover member 10 for the adjustable shirt-tapering system of the present invention. The cover member is used when laundering the shirt. That is, if the cover member were not used, the first 2 and second 4 portions of releasable fastening devices may attach to one another, or to the complementary portions of a second releasable fastening device-located on the same or another shirt. Such an unwanted attachment may lead to frustration on the part of the person doing the laundering, or may lead to damage of the shirts. Further, if uncovered, the releasable fastening devices of various shirts may become attached to one another as the shirts hang in a closet. Accordingly, a cover member is provided for use when laundering, or not using, shirts having the adjustable shirt-tapering system according to the present invention. As shown in FIG. 8, the cover member 10 includes a first section 12, and a second section 14, spaced from one another by a distance V. Again, the distance V may be zero, thereby eliminating middle section 16. Further, the distance V on the cover member 10 need not match that between the first 2 and second 4 portions of the releasable fastening device to which the cover member 10 will attach, as long as the cover member is sized to cover a sufficient portion of the releasable fastening device. The first section 12 is a releasable fastening device complementary to the first portion 2, whereas the second section 14 is a releasable fastening device complementary to the second portion 14. For example, if the releasable fastening device has a first portion 2 of male Velcro™ and a second portion 4 of female Velcro™, then the first section 12 is of female Velcro™ and the second section 14 is of male Velcro™.

[0068] While various embodiments of the invention have been described above, it is contemplated that numerous modifications may be made to the adjustable shirt-tapering system of the present invention without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention as defined in the following claims.

[0069] For example, although a short sleeve shirt is shown in the figures, the present invention is applicable to long or short sleeved shirts. Also, although a straight bottom hemline is shown on the shirt, the present invention is also applicable to a shirt with rounded tails or, in fact, any other shaped shirttail. Again, as noted above, various numbers of releasable fastening devices may be applied to any one shirt.