Title:
Decorative strap system
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A decorative strap system includes an elongate strap, having a plurality of apertures disposed along its length, at least one ornament, removably attached to the elongate strap through one of the plurality of apertures, and means for substantially preventing rotation of the ornament in the aperture.



Inventors:
Stevens, Dee (Logan, UT, US)
Baugh, Mark (Liberty, UT, US)
Orme, Kevin (Tremonton, UT, US)
Application Number:
11/263195
Publication Date:
05/03/2007
Filing Date:
10/31/2005
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A41F9/00
View Patent Images:
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20040210989Hosiery system and method thereforOctober, 2004Tams
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Primary Examiner:
PATEL, TAJASH D
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Parsons Behle & Latimer (Salt Lake City, UT, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A decorative strap system, comprising: an elongate, flexible strap, having a plurality of apertures disposed along its length; and an ornament, removably attachable to the strap through one of the plurality of apertures, the ornament having a mounting post configured to press-fit through the one aperture, and including a flange configured to engage a side of the one of the plurality of apertures to resist rotation of the ornament in the aperture.

2. A decorative strap system in accordance with claim 1, wherein the plurality of apertures are disposed along substantially an entire length of the strap.

3. A decorative strap system in accordance with claim 2, wherein the plurality of apertures are disposed substantially in a line.

4. A decorative strap system in accordance with claim 1, wherein the plurality of apertures are substantially circular.

5. A decorative strap system in accordance with claim 1, wherein the plurality of apertures are substantially non-circular.

6. A decorative strap system in accordance with claim 5, wherein the plurality of apertures include irregularities configured to engage the flange of the ornament.

7. A decorative strap system in accordance with claim 1, wherein the strap is of leather.

8. A decorative strap system in accordance with claim 1, wherein the mounting post comprises an enlarged distal end, configured to press-fit through the one aperture, and the flange includes at least two flanges extending from a base of the mounting post and tapering toward the distal end.

9. A decorative strap system in accordance with claim 1, wherein the ornament includes more than one mounting post, configured to simultaneously press-fit through and engage more than one aperture of the strap.

10. A decorative strap system in accordance with claim 1, wherein the strap is a substantially continuous endless band.

11. An item of apparel, comprising: an elongate strap, having a plurality of apertures disposed along its length; and at least one ornament, removably attached to the elongate strap through one of the plurality of apertures; and means for substantially preventing rotation of the ornament in the aperture.

12. An item of apparel in accordance with claim 11, further comprising means for fastening opposing ends of the strap.

13. An item of apparel in accordance with claim 11, wherein the strap is a substantially continuous endless band.

14. An item of apparel in accordance with claim 11, wherein at least some of the plurality of apertures are substantially non-circular.

15. An item of apparel in accordance with claim 11, wherein the means for substantially preventing rotation of the ornament comprises a flange extending from a mounting post of the ornament, the flange configured to engage a side of the one of aperture.

16. An item of apparel in accordance with claim 15, wherein the ornament includes more than one mounting post, configured to simultaneously engage more than one aperture of the strap.

17. A decorative strap system, comprising: an elongate, flexible strap, having a plurality of apertures disposed substantially along its entire length; and at least two ornaments, removably attached to the strap through at least two of the plurality of apertures, each ornament including a mounting post, having an enlarged distal end configured to press-fit through the aperture and frictionally resist removal therefrom; and a plurality of flanges, extending laterally from the mounting post, configured to engage a side of the aperture to resist rotation of the ornament therein.

18. A decorative strap system in accordance with claim 17, wherein the plurality of apertures include non-circular apertures configured to engage the flanges of the ornaments.

19. A decorative strap system in accordance with claim 17, further comprising a buckle, configured to attach opposing ends of the strap to each other.

20. A decorative strap system in accordance with claim 17, wherein the strap is a substantially continuous endless band.

Description:

BACKGROUND

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates generally to apparel. More particularly, the present invention relates to a strap and decorative attachments that are removably attachable thereto.

2. Related Art

The wearing of jewelry, ornaments, and decorative apparel of various kinds is one of the most ancient practices. While types, styles, and tastes have varied through the ages and from place to place, jewelry and decorative apparel have been used in nearly every era and culture to add beauty or style, display riches, or simply to express one's individual tastes or preferences. Today the quantity and variety of such items is unsurpassed, allowing nearly any person to express their individual tastes and preferences in a wide variety of ways.

Belts and belt-like items, such as suspenders, bracelets, etc., are a widely used type of decorative apparel. These are available in many styles, colors, etc. Additionally, a variety of ornaments and devices have been developed that can be added to belt-like items to modify their appearance and increase their attractiveness. Gems, alphanumeric characters and words, buttons, pins, charms, and such are frequently attached to belts, bracelets and the like to ornament them, to display a message, or simply to make them unique to the wearer. They can also be used to display a collection of items, such as trinkets or charms, or to advertise a wearer's hobby or interest.

There are a variety of methods for attaching ornaments to belts and belt-like items. Many of these use rivets or other fasteners to create a permanent attachment that limits the flexibility of the item. Where ornaments are permanently attached, a user cannot change or rearrange the ornaments when desired. This can have the negative effect of causing the item to become out of style or no longer of interest to the wearer after a relatively brief time. This can be wasteful, as well as limiting the wearer's ability to express themselves.

Other methods for attaching ornaments to belts and belt-like items have been developed that do not create a permanent attachment. Such systems allow ornamental items to be removed and replaced, rearranged, or otherwise changed when the user desires. Unfortunately, some systems that provide a method for removably attaching ornaments or items to an item of apparel do not provide a secure attachment, with the result that attached items can be lost. Additionally, some removable connection methods can allow the connected item to rotate or otherwise change its orientation. Depending upon the nature of the decorative items and the user's intended appearance, this can be undesirable.

SUMMARY

It has been recognized that it would be desirable to provide an item of apparel to which decorative ornaments can be removably attached in a secure manner.

It has also been recognized that it would be desirable to provide an item of apparel wherein removably attachable ornaments are substantially fixed in their orientation once attached.

In accordance with one aspect thereof, the present invention provides a decorative strap system, comprising an elongate, flexible strap, and an ornament, removably attachable to the strap. The strap includes a plurality of apertures disposed along its length, and the ornament is removably attachable to the strap through one of the plurality of apertures. The ornament includes a mounting post configured to press-fit through the aperture, and a flange configured to engage a side of the aperture to resist rotation of the ornament therein.

In accordance with another aspect thereof, the invention provides an item of apparel, comprising an elongate strap, having a plurality of apertures disposed along its length, at least one ornament, removably attached to the elongate strap through one of the plurality of apertures, and means for substantially preventing rotation of the ornament in the aperture.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Additional features and advantages of the invention will be apparent from the detailed description which follows, taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, which together illustrate, by way of example, features of the invention, and wherein:

FIG. 1 is a front view of a decorative strap system including a belt and a plurality of removable ornaments;

FIG. 2 is a side view of an ornament configured to attach to the belt of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a rear view of the ornament of FIG. 2;

FIG. 4 is a plan view of a portion of a strap having non-circular ornament apertures of various shapes; and

FIG. 5 is a perspective view of a continuous strap configured to receive removable ornaments.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Reference will now be made to the exemplary embodiments illustrated in the drawings, and specific language will be used herein to describe the same. It will nevertheless be understood that no limitation of the scope of the invention is thereby intended. Alterations and further modifications of the inventive features illustrated herein, and additional applications of the principles of the inventions as illustrated herein, which would occur to one skilled in the relevant art and having possession of this disclosure, are to be considered within the scope of the invention.

Referring to FIG. 1, the present invention provides a decorative item of apparel, generally comprising an elongate strap 10, having a plurality of apertures (designated generally 12) disposed along its length. One or more ornaments (designated generally 14) are provided, which can be removably attached to the elongate strap through one of the plurality of apertures.

The strap 10 can be of any material that is suitable, such as leather, cloth, elastic material, plastics, rubber, metal, etc. As shown in FIG. 1, it can be in the form of a fastenable belt with free ends 16 and a buckle 18 or other fastener to attach it together, or to attach it to some other item. For example, the strap can be a belt with a buckle, or can comprise suspenders, which include free ends configured to attach to trousers or the like using buttons, clamps, etc. Similarly, the strap can be a necklace or bracelet having a clasp for connecting it together. Alternatively, the strap can be a substantially continuous endless band 20, shown in FIG. 5, as is frequently the case with a garter, a choker, a bracelet, a necklace or a sweatband. The strap can be elastic or non-elastic, whether it is endless or not.

The apertures 12 can be disposed along substantially the entire length of the strap 10, or along only a portion of the length of the strap. Where, as in FIG. 1, the strap is a belt with a buckle 18 and a plurality of holes 22 for receiving a latch bar 24 of the buckle, the apertures can be configured to appear as a continuation of the belt holes. As such, the apertures can be disposed substantially in a line, as illustrated by holes 12a in FIG. 1. Similarly, the holes 26 of a continuous strap 20, shown in FIG. 5, can be disposed in a substantially straight line, and this line can extend along substantially the entire length of the strap, or only a portion of the length.

Alternatively, the holes can be configured in other arrangements, some of which are shown in FIG. 1. For example, the holes 12b are disposed substantially diametrically opposed to each other. Other holes 12c are placed in irregular locations. Any other desired arrangement of the holes can be provided.

The ornaments 14 generally comprise an ornament body 28, with a mounting post 30 extending generally perpendicularly from the rear side 32 of the body. The ornaments can have almost any form and appearance, and can be made of a variety of materials. The ornaments can be of plastic, metal, rubber, cloth, glass, or any other suitable material. It will be apparent that the ornament can comprise multiple materials, and the post and body need not be of the same material. For example, if it is most desirable that the post be of plastic, the body of the ornament can nevertheless be of metal or some other material, and vice versa. The shape and appearance of the ornament can be symmetrical, irregular, or any other desired shape. Some types of ornaments that the inventors have considered include a guitar pick (14a in FIG. 1), a gem stone, a mounted gem stone, a rhinestone, a pearl, an animal, a person, a charm, a geometric shape, such as a star (14b in FIG. 1) or a keystone (14c in FIG. 1), a machine, a symbol, a typographic character, a trademark, a logo, a ring, an irregular design, and a chain. It is to be understood that this is not an exhaustive list. Many other types of ornaments or decorative items can be configured for attachment to a strap in the manner disclosed herein.

The mounting post 30 includes a central post body 40 and an enlarged distal end 42, with a tapered forward surface 44 and a tapered rearward surface 46. The enlarged distal end is configured to press-fit through an aperture 12 of the strap, the aperture frictionally resisting removal of the ornament, yet allows the ornament to be removed when desired. To this end, the distal end of the mounting post has a dimension D (shown in FIG. 2) that is larger than a width W of the aperture (shown in FIG. 4), so that the post must be pressed through the aperture, requiring slight deformation of the aperture during insertion. The tapered forward surface 44 helps allow the post to be pressed through the aperture in this manner.

As best shown in FIG. 2, the rear edge of the distal end 42 of the mounting post includes a shoulder 48 that is configured to engage the backside 50 of the strap 10 to hold the ornament 14 in place. It is desirable that the distance d between the backside of the ornament body and the shoulder be approximately equal to the thickness T of the strap, so as to provide a snug fit. The tapered rearward surface 46 of the distal end helps allow the edge of the aperture to flex inwardly behind the enlarged distal end once the post has been pressed through the aperture. The tapered rearward surface also helps to allow removal of the ornament, but is shorter and has a steeper taper than the forward tapered surface, so as to enhance locking of the ornament in place. This configuration allows the mounting post to be relatively easily press-fit through an aperture in the strap, to be held securely in place, yet be removable when desired.

Ornaments can have a single mounting post, as shown in FIGS. 2 and 3, and like the ornament 52 in FIG. 5. Alternatively, as shown in FIG. 5, an ornament 54 with an elongate shape and having multiple mounting posts 30 can be configured to attach to multiple apertures in the strap. This can allow a wider range of sizes and shapes of ornaments. It will be apparent that while an ornament with two mounting posts is shown, ornaments with more than two mounting posts can be provided.

As noted above, it can be desirable to have the removably attached ornaments 14 substantially fixed in their orientation and prevented from rotating once attached. For example, where the ornaments have an irregular shape, such as an animal or human figure, it can be desirable to keep them in a particular orientation (e.g. upright). Advantageously, the decorative strap system disclosed herein is configured to substantially prevent rotation of the ornaments in their apertures. This can be done in several ways. As shown in FIGS. 2 and 3, the mounting post 30 of the ornament can include one or more flanges 56 that extend laterally from the sides of the post body 40. These flanges are configured to engage the sides of the apertures 12, to resist rotation of the ornament in the aperture. That is, when the ornament is press fit into the aperture, the flanges dig into the sides of the aperture slightly, thus increasing friction between the ornament and the aperture, and preventing the ornament from rotating or spinning in the aperture.

This configuration helps the ornaments stay in a substantially fixed orientation once attached to the strap. For example, referring to FIG. 1, a user may desire that the guitar pick 14a remain with its point down, as shown, or in some other particular orientation. Similarly, it may be desirable that the keystone 14c remain in a fixed orientation. The engagement of the mounting post with the edges of the aperture helps ensure the desired orientation.

The shape of the apertures can also be modified to prevent rotation of the ornament. The apertures 12 in the strap 10 shown in FIG. 1 have a substantially circular shape. Alternatively, as shown in FIG. 4, the apertures can have other shapes. For example, a star-shaped aperture 58 can be used, as can an irregular aperture 60 with ridges 62 along its edge. In these configurations, the flanges of the mounting post (56 in FIG. 2) interlock with the irregularities on the sides of the aperture, and resist rotation of the ornament. Alternatively, a square aperture 64, a triangular aperture 66, or other non-circular shape can be used to help prevent rotation of the ornament. In such configurations, the mounting post can be inserted in such a manner that the flanges engage the corners 68 of these non-circular apertures.

There are other configurations for resisting rotation of the ornaments. For example, the body 40 of the mounting post 30 can have a non-circular cross-sectional shape corresponding to the shape of a non-circular aperture, such as those shown in FIG. 4. In this configuration, the matching non-circular shape of the mounting post and the aperture prevents the mounting post from rotating within the aperture. Additionally, it will be apparent that the provision of an ornament with multiple mounting posts, like the ornament 54 shown in FIG. 5, will naturally resist rotation because of its multiple connection positions.

A wide variety of items of apparel can be provided with removable ornaments or decorations in the manner disclosed herein. For example, belts and belt-like items having free ends that attach together or attach to some other item, such as the belt 10 shown in FIG. 1, can be configured this way. Other such items include suspenders, a necklace, a bracelet, or other similar items. Alternatively, continuous straps can be configured in a similar manner, like the continuous strap 20 depicted in FIG. 5. Such continuous strap-type embodiments can include a garter, a bracelet, a sweatband, a choker, or other such items. It will be apparent that there are other items not mentioned here that can also be provided with removable decorations in the manner outlined herein, and these are also encompassed within the scope of the present invention.

It is to be understood that the above-referenced arrangements are illustrative of the application of the principles of the present invention. It will be apparent to those of ordinary skill in the art that numerous modifications can be made without departing from the principles and concepts of the invention as set forth in the claims.