Title:
Headwear systems
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
Headwear systems are provided which include hats such as sports caps and the like having one or more detachable liners that enhance comfort and aesthetic appeal. The liners are interchangeable, one with another. The liners include a resilient, non-absorbent core layer made of separate bands different materials that are effective to retain the shape and form of the hat. The liners include a zipper mechanism for enabling removable attachment of the liners to the hat.



Inventors:
Gelera, Benedick (Laguna Hills, CA, US)
Application Number:
11/406733
Publication Date:
10/25/2007
Filing Date:
04/18/2006
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A42C5/02
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20080047048Cap with selective viewing angleFebruary, 2008Kwon
20020174475Top of a two - piece swim or sport suitNovember, 2002Mayr
20060206985Headwear visor storage systemSeptember, 2006Proctor
20090293178Trouser anti tuck deviceDecember, 2009Caulfield
20070016997Safety hard hat and face shield assemblyJanuary, 2007Reddington
20060135889Fitness deviceJune, 2006Egli
20050268380Garment with integral male member adjustable supportDecember, 2005Sovell
20080022436Protective glove with a removable linerJanuary, 2008Hull
20040016037Disposable eye shieldJanuary, 2004Henry III
20030154534Article of clothing including at least one through holeAugust, 2003Miller et al.
20070083985Undergarment with storage pocketApril, 2007Nathan et al.



Primary Examiner:
MORAN, KATHERINE M
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
STOUT, UXA & BUYAN, LLP (Laguna Hills, CA, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A headwear system comprising: a headwear article having a crown portion; and at least one liner member having a length and structured to be removably attached to the crown portion, the liner member including a core layer including a first band made of a first material and a second band made of a second material, the first band and the second band being aligned in a generally side by side relationship along the length of the liner member, and an absorbent layer covering at least a major surface of the core layer.

2. The system of claim 1 wherein the liner member further includes a flexural region defined along at least a portion of the length of the liner member.

3. The system of claim 2 wherein flexural region extends substantially between the first band and the second band.

4. The system of claim 1 wherein the second band has greater flexibility than the first band.

5. The system of claim 1 wherein the second band has a peripheral edge and the first band has a peripheral edge adjacent to and in substantial alignment with the peripheral edge of the second band.

6. The system of claim 1 wherein the first material is a different material than the second material.

7. The system of claim 1 wherein the first band has a first width and the second band has a second width greater than the first width.

8. The system of claim 1 further comprising an attachment mechanism for enabling removable attachment of the at least one liner member to the crown portion.

9. The system of claim 8 wherein the attachment mechanism comprises a zipper mechanism.

10. The system of claim 9 wherein the zipper mechanism extends along substantially an entire length of the liner member.

11. The system of claim 1 wherein the at least one liner member comprises a plurality of liner members interchangeably connectable to the crown portion.

12. The system of claim 11 wherein one of the liner members is a different color from another of the liner members.

13. A headwear system comprising: a liner member having a length and including a first band having a first stiffness and a second band having a second stiffness less than the first stiffness, the first band and the second band being aligned in a generally side by side relationship along the length of the liner member and defining a flexural region therebetween; and an attachment mechanism for enabling removable attachment of the liner member to a crown portion of a cap such that, when the liner member is attached to the cap, the first band substantially aligns with the peripheral edge of the cap.

14. The system of claim 13 wherein the attachment mechanism comprises a zipper mechanism disposed along the length of the liner member.

15. The system of claim 13 further comprising an absorbent outer layer substantially entirely enclosing the first band and the second band.

16. The system of claim 13 wherein the first band has a first width and the second band has a second width greater than the first width.

17. The system of claim 13 wherein the second band has a width of at least about 1.0 inch.

18. The system of claim 17 wherein the first band has a width of about 0.5 inch.

19. The system of claim 13 further comprising a cap having a crown portion and a peripheral edge.

20. A headwear system comprising: a headwear article having a crown portion and a peripheral edge; at least one liner member having a length and including a resilient core layer including a first band having a first stiffness and a second band having a second stiffness less than the first stiffness, the first band and the second band being aligned in a generally side by side relationship along the length of the liner member and defining a flexural region therebetween, an absorbent layer substantially covering the core layer; and an attachment mechanism for enabling removable attachment of the liner member to the crown portion such that when the liner member is attached to the headwear article, the first band is substantially aligned with the peripheral edge of the headwear article.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The present invention is generally directed to headwear and is more specifically directed to hats, for example, caps, including removable liners.

Hats or caps are commonly provided with a liner, for example, a moisture absorbent material that lines at least a portion of the inner surface of the hat or cap, usually at the forehead region. Typically, such liners are permanently sewn into the cap and are designed to absorb perspiration and/or provide a soft surface for contact with the facial skin of the wearer or to protect the main fabric of the hat from becoming soiled with perspiration and dirt.

Other hats or caps are unlined, and essentially comprise of a single layer of cloth, for example, canvas material. In these caps, the surface of the cap which contacts the skin of the wearer is simply the underside of the generally rough canvas material of which the cap is made.

In either case, each time the hat or cap is worn, the liner or inner surface of the cap material continues to accumulate dirt and perspiration. Naturally, unless the cap is thoroughly washed or cleaned, the cap will eventually become stained, malodorous, and/or generally unattractive from the accumulated grime and perspiration.

Washing a hat or cap is not ideal and the hat or cap may lose its shape and structural integrity. Soaking a cloth cap, for example, in soapy water, tends to alter the fit and even the appearance thereof.

It is commonly accepted that the only solution to is to discard an old worn cap and replace with a new one. It is not uncommon for some wearers to be very reluctant to discard a hat which may have been costly, or to which the wearer has developed a sentimental attachment. Caps which may have special sentimental significance to a wearer may be difficult or impossible to be satisfactorily replaced.

Many removable hat liners have been proposed. Conventional removable hat liners are generally directed to sweatband-style liners that are directed at addressing problems caused by accumulating perspiration.

Hahn, et al., U.S. Pat. No. 6,738,985 discloses a disposable sweatband liner for a hat or cap, the liner being attached to the hat or cap by an adhesive strip.

Young, U.S. Pat. No. 5,613,248 teaches a removable sweatband for a hat using snap fasteners.

Moore, U.S. Pat. No. 5,553,326 discloses a removable, washable sweatband for a hat. The sweatband is attached to a hat using a “zip-lock” type closing means, such as the type used in plastic bags.

Nunnery et al., U.S. Pat. No. 4,468,817 discloses a washable, terry-cloth strip that is connectable to a safety helmet using snap fasteners.

None of the conventional hat liner devices are directed at providing a significant increase in comfort to a wearer or to improving the appearance of a cap. The present invention meets all the needs that are addressed by the prior art and meets other needs as well.

It would be advantageous to provide new hat assemblies, for example, hat assemblies that include removable liners that are more robust, more attractive and provide greater options than those proposed in the prior art.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

Accordingly, new headwear systems are provided. The headwear systems of the present invention provide hats or caps that are exceptionally comfortable, versatile and visually appealing. Further, the headwear systems provide effective means for retaining the form and shape of a hat or cap, thereby extending the useful life thereof.

The systems generally comprise a headwear article, such as a fabric cap, for example a sports cap, a hat, or a visor. For purposes of simplicity, the term “cap” is often used herein rather than the term “headwear article”. It should be appreciated however that the terms headwear article and cap, as used herein and unless expressly stated otherwise, are intended to include most any type of sports cap, visor, functional headwear, for example, that worn by golfers, beachgoers, surfers, hikers and the like, knit cap, sunhat, straw hat, lifeguard hat, and any other type of headwear that would be useful in systems of the present invention.

The headwear article generally includes a peripheral edge, a crown portion which generally extends around a portion of the interior surface of the headwear article and faces the forehead of a wearer. When the headwear article is worn, the crown portion extends about from ear to ear of a wearer. The headwear article may further include a visor portion extending outwardly away from the crown portion. The headwear article may be made of canvas, denim or other medium or heavy gauge fabric material, for example, a material commonly used to make conventional caps.

The system further comprises at least one liner member that is removably attachable to the crown portion of the headwear article. The liner member has a suitable length for covering at least a portion of the crown portion. The length of the liner member, for example, is about equivalent to the length of the crown portion. The liner member is structured to be removably attached to the crown portion.

Advantageously, the liner member is structured to provide support to the crown portion and maintain a form and shape thereof. In addition, the liner member is structured to provide a smooth, close fit between the crown portion and the liner member. Preferably, the liner member will not buckle or protrude when attached to the crown portion.

For example, in a preferred embodiment, the liner member generally includes a core layer, for example, a resilient core layer, and an outer layer, for example an absorbent, fabric outer layer covering or enclosing at least a major surface of the core layer. The liner member further includes an attachment mechanism for enabling manual, removable attachment of the liner member to the crown portion.

The core layer may comprise a first band and a second band which are aligned in a generally side by side relationship along the length of the liner member. In a particularly useful embodiment, the first band has a greater stiffness than the second band. In some embodiments, the first band is relatively narrower in width than the second band. The core layer may be made of separate bands of different materials. The bands of the core layer are structured to retain the shape and form of the hat such that the hat will stay “new-looking” even after long term wear.

The system is structured such that when the liner member is attached to the headwear article, the generally more supportive first band has an edge that aligns with the peripheral edge of the headwear article. The second band, preferably made of a softer or more flexible material, extends upward and away from the first band. The second band is preferably spaced apart form the peripheral edge by a distance sufficient provide a smooth front appearance to the headwear when worn. For example, the second band extends away from the first band a distance of about 1.0 inch or more. Further, the liner member may include a flexural region located generally along at least a major portion of the length of the liner member. More specifically, the flexural region may provide a hinge formed in the liner member generally between the first band and the second band

The core layer may be made of suitable materials that provided strength and a desired balance of flexibility, resiliency and rigidity to the liner member. In some embodiments, the core layer may be made of non-woven materials, for example, molded polymeric materials. The core layer may be generally non-absorbent, for example, relative to the outer layer.

The outer layer may comprise a soft, comfortable, absorbent fabric material, for example, velour, terrycloth, or other suitable fabric material. Preferably, the absorbent layer substantially entirely encloses the core layer. For example, the outer layer encloses the core layer in a manner such that none of the core layer, or at least no significant region of the core layer, is exposed on an exterior of the liner member.

The system further comprises an attachment mechanism for removably attaching the at least one liner member to the crown portion. For example, the attachment mechanism may comprise a zipper mechanism extending the length of the liner member. One toothed strip of the zipper mechanism may be permanently attached to the crown portion and another toothed strip of the zipper mechanism may be permanently attached to the liner member.

In some embodiments, the systems comprise a plurality of interchangeable liner members for enhancing versatility of the system. The liner members may be made of different materials and/or different colors.

In other embodiments, headwear shape-retaining systems are provided which generally comprise a liner member having the aspects described elsewhere herein and including means for enabling removable attachment of the liner member to a cap.

In a specific embodiment of the invention, headwear systems are provided which comprise a conventional headwear article or cap that is provided as a primary component of the system. The system further comprises an assortment of liner members that are provided, for example, in the form of a display near the cap and available for sale therewith. One or more of the liner members can be selected by the consumer to be purchased with the cap. The assortment of liner members may be provided in various colors, patterns and materials to enable selection of a combination of a cap and a liner member that the wearer prefers.

Any and all features described herein and combinations of such features are included within the scope of the present invention provided that the features of any such combination are not mutually inconsistent.

These and other features, aspects and advantages of the present invention will become apparent hereinafter, particularly when considered in conjunction with the following claims, detailed description and drawings in which like parts bear like reference numerals.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective top view of a system in accordance with the present invention comprising an article of headwear.

FIG. 2 is a perspective bottom view of the system shown in FIG. 1 showing a liner member removably connected to the article of headwear.

FIG. 3 is a perspective bottom view of the system with the liner member as it is being attached to a crown portion of the article of headwear shown in FIGS. 1 and 2.

FIG. 4 is a perspective bottom view of the system shown in FIGS. 1 and 2 with the liner member removed therefrom.

FIG. 5 is a partial cut-away plan view of the liner member.

FIG. 6 is a cross-sectional view of the liner member.

FIG. 7 is a perspective view of a plurality of different liner members for use in the systems of the invention.

FIG. 8 is an alternative embodiment of the invention comprising an article of headwear, a liner member, and shape-retaining members.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Turning now to FIGS. 1 and 2, a headwear system 10 in accordance with the invention is shown. The headwear system 10 generally comprises an article of headwear, in this example, a canvas cap 12, and at least one liner member 14 that is removably attached to a crown portion 16 of the cap 12. The crown portion 16, as used herein, is generally intended to refer to a region disposed along front and side portions of the cap 12 and which extends about from ear to ear of a person wearing the cap 12 on his or her head. The crown portion 16 includes an inner surface portion of the cap 12 which faces the forehead of the person. In this specific embodiment shown, the cap 12 includes a visor portion 18 extending outwardly away from the crown portion 16. As shown, the liner member 14 has a longitudinal edge that aligns with a peripheral edge 20 of the cap 12.

Certain aspects of the present invention may be more clearly understood with specific reference to FIGS. 3-5, which show, respectively, the system 10 with the liner member 14 during attachment to the cap 16, the cap 12 having the liner member 16 removed therefrom, and the liner member 14 in cut-away view.

The liner member 14 preferably has a suitable length for covering at least a portion of the cap crown portion 16. The system 10 further comprises a suitable attachment mechanism for facilitating removable attachment of the liner member 14 to the cap 12. The attachment mechanism provides a means for enabling manual removal of the liner member 14, for example, when the liner mechanism 14 has become worn, soiled or stained, and further, is designed to enable exchange of the liner member 14 for another liner member (not shown) using the same mechanism.

Preferably, the attachment mechanism comprises a zipper mechanism 22. The zipper mechanism 22 may be a conventional zipper mechanism. The zipper mechanism preferably includes a first toothed strip 22a with a pull tab 26 and a cooperative second toothed strip 22b. The first toothed strip 22a with pull tab 26 is preferably secured directly and permanently to a rim 28 of the crown portion 16 as shown in FIG. 3 and 4. The second toothed strip 22b is preferably secured substantially entirely across and permanently to the liner member 14, for example, on a face of the liner member 14 such as shown in FIGS. 3 and 5. Securement of the toothed strips 22a and 22b to the cap 12 and liner member 14 respectively, may be accomplished in any suitable manner, for example, by sewing, adhesives and the like and combinations thereof. Advantageously, the provision of the zipper mechanism in the present systems ensures that the liner member 14 will be consistently attached to the cap 12 in the intended, correct position.

Other attachment mechanisms are also contemplated and are considered to be within the scope of the invention. For example, the attachment mechanism may alternatively comprise hook and loop fastener strips, snaps, buttons, or the like. Any attachment mechanism useful in the present invention is preferably one that is structured to enable manual removable attachment of the liner member to the cap in a non-complicated fashion by an ordinary adult human being.

Referring back briefly to FIG. 2, the system 10 is designed and structured such that liner member 14, when properly attached to the cap 16 by means of zipper mechanism (not shown in FIG. 2), will cover or conceal all components of the zipper mechanism. This enhances visual appeal of the liner member 14 in cap 12. An outer surface 28 of the liner member 14, which faces the forehead of the wearer, provides a soft, cushiony, visually appealing surface, for example, when the system 10 is not being worn.

The liner member 14 is sized and shaped to cover at least the wearer's forehead. In the shown embodiment, the liner member 14 has a length L preferably less than a total circumferential length of the cap 12. For example, the length L may be about equivalent to the length of the crown portion 16. For use with a standard sized adult cap, the length of the liner member 14 is preferably between about 15 inches and about 20 inches, more preferably between about 16 inches and about 19 inches. A width W of the liner member is preferably between about 1.0 inch and about 2.0 inches. In a specific embodiment, the length L of the liner member 14 is about 18.75 inches and the width W is about 1.5 inches. The liner member 14 has a sufficient flexibility in the direction of length L to flex and curve from a flat configuration to a curve matching that of the inner surface of the cap 12. Advantageously, the liner member has a structure, for example, a sufficient stiffness or rigidity in the direction of width W, to provide support to and maintain the shape of at least the crown portion 16 of the cap 12.

Turning now to FIGS. 5 and 6, the liner member 14 may include a flexible longitudinally extending region, herein referred to as “flexural region” 30, for example, a hinged region. The flexural region 30 extends along length L, for example at least a major portion of length L of the liner member 14. Preferably, the flexural region 30 extends along the entire length of the liner member 14. More specifically, the flexural region 30 is a region of substantially greater flexibility in the direction of width W, for example, relative to any other longitudinally extending region of the liner member 14.

For example, in the shown embodiment, the liner member 14 comprises a core layer 38, for example, a substantially non-absorbent, resilient core layer, and an outer layer 40, for example an absorbent, relatively flexible, soft outer layer. Preferably, the outer layer 40 substantially entirely encloses the core layer 38, such as shown in FIG. 6.

The core layer 38 preferably includes a first band 44 made of a first material having a first stiffness and a second band 46 made of a second stiffness that is less than the first stiffness. The first band 44 may have a smaller width than a width of the second band 46. The first band may have a width of about 0.5 inch. The first band 44 includes a longitudinal edge 44a which generally aligns with the peripheral edge 20 of the cap 12 when the liner member 14 is properly attached thereto. In a specific embodiment, the first band 44 comprises 12 mm (about 0.5 inch) polyester Rigilene boning material, for example, and the second band 46 comprises a belting material having a width of about 24 mm (about 1.0 inch) or greater and available under the tradename Dritz® Belting. Other suitable materials are also contemplated and are considered to be within the scope of the invention.

The first band 44 and the second band 46 are aligned side by side as shown, and may be connected by stitching 52, for example, cross stitching such as shown in FIG. 5. The flexural region 30 may be formed by an interface region located generally between the first band 44 and second band 46.

Turning now briefly to FIG. 7, in some embodiments of the invention, a plurality of liner members 14 are provided, for example an assortment of liner members that are different colors and/or different materials. For example, liner 14a comprises outer layer which is a thick velour material so as to provide warmth to the wearer during cool temperatures. On the other hand, liner member 14b may comprise outer layer 40b which is a light, highly absorbent terrycloth material 40b, such liner member 14b being selected for wear, for example, during warm weather and/or when excessive perspiration is expected.

FIG. 8 shows another system 110 of the invention which is similar to system 10, the difference being that system 110 further comprises one or more shape-retaining members 64. Shape retaining members 64 extend generally away from liner member 114 and are structured to provide more substantial shape retaining function to the cap 116. Preferably, the shape-retaining members 64 are made of a smooth, flexible plastic material having sufficient thickness to maintain the form of the cap 112 without causing substantial discomfort to the wearer.

Although there has been hereinabove described one or more exemplary embodiments of a boat propeller safety cover, in accordance with the present invention, for purposes of illustrating the manner in which the present invention may be used to advantage, it will be appreciated that the present invention is not limited thereto. Accordingly, any and all modifications, variations and/or equivalent arrangements which may occur to those skilled in the art should be considered to be within the scope of the present invention as defined in the appended claims.