Title:
Head Covering With Magnetic Closure
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A head covering is formed having a full size hood portion coupled with a magnetic closure structure in the overlapping layers around the neck. The bottom of the head covering, located in the user's neck region, includes two extensions, one on each side of the hood portion. These extensions may be elongated so that they overlap and surround the user's neck. The two extensions are attached by a two-part magnetic closure. The fabric drape is such that the head covering keeps its shape. The magnets may be firmly set in place. This closure may be located off the center line of the hood which increases the ease of use and decreases the likelihood that the closure will open accidentally. The closure, extensions and drape may be designed so that the fastening is quick and easy, without the need for the user to look into a mirror, or be in the light, or use both hands. In another preferred embodiment the hood portion of the covering may be retracted to a position off the head without unfastening the closure.



Inventors:
Ulrich, Ellen Siegel (Bronxville, NY, US)
Application Number:
11/746048
Publication Date:
11/22/2007
Filing Date:
05/08/2007
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A42B1/04
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
TOMPKINS, ALISSA JILL
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Houtteman Law LLC (Merrifield, VA, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A head covering comprising, a hood portion designed to cover the head of a user; a bottom portion with two extensions designed to overlap around the neck of the user; a set of closures located on each of said extensions, said closures positioned such that when the extensions overlap around the neck of the user the closures will attract and fasten the two extensions together thus holding the extensions around the neck of the user; wherein the head covering is designed so that the shape of the head covering is maintained under normal conditions.

2. The head covering of claim 1 wherein said shape is maintained by the proper fabric drape.

3. The head covering of claim 2 wherein said set of closures are magnetic closures located such that in the fastened position the closures are located off center.

4. The head covering of claim 3 wherein said set of closures are located, from the user's perspective, left of center.

5. The head covering of claim 1 wherein said set of closures comprises a plurality of closures on each of said extensions wherein said plurality of closures are spaced such that the tightness around the user's neck can be adjusted.

6. The head covering of claim 1 wherein said hood portion further comprises an opening that extends vertically from the user's forehead to the chin area and extends horizontally to the entire width of the user's face.

7. The head covering of claim 1 wherein said head cover comprises at least two layers of material and said closures are sewn in between two layers.

8. The head covering of claim 7 wherein said closures are secured within separate individual fabric pockets with stitching tightly contoured around the shape of each closure and said fabric pockets are secured between two layers of material with a second stitching, said second stitching being tightly contoured around the shape of each closure.

9. A head covering comprising, a hood portion designed to cover the head of a user; a bottom portion with two extensions designed to overlap around the neck of the user; a set of magnetic closures located on each of said extensions, said closures positioned such that when the extensions overlap around the neck of the user the closures will attract and fasten the two extensions together thus holding the extensions around the neck of the user; wherein the head covering is designed so that the shape of the head covering is maintained by fabric drape.

10. The head covering of claim 9 wherein said closures, when viewed in the fastened position, are located off center.

11. The head covering of claim 1 wherein said hood portion further comprises an opening that extends vertically from the user's forehead to the chin area and extends horizontally to the entire width of the user's face.

12. The head covering of claim 10 wherein said hood portion is shaped so that it fits around the user's head at a distance close enough to allow protection from the weather and to prevent the wind from blowing the hood back off of the users head; but far enough away so that the user can in a one hand operation fold the top of the hood back off of the user's head.

13. The head covering of claim 9 wherein said head cover comprises at least two layers of material and said closures are sewn in between two layers.

14. The head covering of claim 12 wherein said closures are secured within separate individual fabric pockets with stitching tightly contoured around the shape of each closure and said fabric pockets are secured between two layers of material with a second stitching, said second stitching being tightly contoured around the shape of each closure.

15. The head covering of claim 9 wherein all portions of said head covering are made with materials designed for cold weather protection.

16. The head covering of claim 14 wherein said materials for cold weather protection comprise three layers.

17. The head covering of claim 15 wherein said three layers are: an interior layer having a smooth and light material having the property of not mussing the hairstyle of the user, a middle layer having insulating properties, and an exterior layer with water repellent properties.

18. The head covering of claim 9 wherein said head covering is designed for use in environments selected from the group consisting of: warm weather, hot weather, sunlight, ultraviolet light.

19. The head covering of claim 9 wherein all portions of said head covering are made in three layers.

20. The head covering of claim 9 wherein all portions of the head covering are made in two layers.

21. The head covering of claim 9 wherein said head covering is constructed of materials designed primary for protection against rain.

Description:

This application claims priority to U.S. Provisional Application No. 60/746,696, filed May 8, 2006, the contents of which are incorporated herein by reference.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates to articles of clothing and more particularly to articles of clothing to be worn about the head.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

There has been a long felt need to protect the appearance of hair and hairdos in a variety of climate conditions and temperatures, whether indoors or outdoors. Those in need are typically individuals with curly hair, large amounts of hair, new hairdos, new permanent hair treatments and the like. The need is particularly acute under harsh weather conditions such as high wind, rain, snow, excessive heat and humidity etc. Another long felt need exists for a head covering that does not require being in front of a mirror or in light, or having both hands free, to adjust or fasten in the ideal position around the head and neck. Children, persons with disabilities, the visually impaired, or people working with their hands or in poor lighting conditions, or carrying bags like while shopping or running errands, could all benefit from a head covering having these helpful properties. Finally, those having long pony tails, braids, or pig-tails have difficulty finding appropriate head coverings that fit. These individuals have a significant amount of hair around the back of their necks which makes most head coverings inconvenient and uncomfortable to wear.

Prior art head coverings are not ideal. Typical head coverings are hoods. Hoods, however, are seen as components attached to outerwear garments, such as raincoats, ponchos hoodies and other types of outerwear. Other head coverings include hats, ear muffs, higabs, scarves, kerchiefs etc.

These head coverings do not adequately meet the long felt need; they have various shortcomings. Many of these prior art head coverings are too hot for certain conditions. Moreover, head coverings may be comfortable while the user is walking in cold weather; but, after the user transfers to another mode of transportation, a taxi, a subway, or a car, the head covering will become uncomfortable. Hoods attached to garments tend to fall off the user's head, or press on the user's hair, or throat, as pulled by the weight of the user sitting on the attached garment. Other head coverings, such as kerchiefs, need to be tied tightly around the user's neck to remain securely in place therefore mussing the hairstyle of the user, and require the use of both hands to be tied and untied. In other cases the coverings, once removed, cannot be readily stored. They are too bulky to fit inside a handbag. Furthermore, when the user's hands are full it will be inconvenient to remove the head covering. Moreover, the coverings press down on the hair too much resulting in a crushed hairdo or producing “hat head,” for example. Some elderly individuals, arthritis sufferers, persons with reduced hand or fingers mobility due to permanent or temporary disability, visually impaired individuals, persons in poor lighting conditions, or without a mirror, or children, lack the manual dexterity or the visual ability or attention required to adjust or fasten many prior art head coverings.

Some types of outerwear garments are equipped with removable hoods. However, should the user attempt to use the removable hood without the body portion of the garment, the result would be non-functional, and aesthetically unappealing. The hood will not properly close or protect the head. The pattern from which these fabrics are cut does not result in the proper size and shape to function independently of the body portion of the garment. Furthermore, the bottom portion of the hood is not designed to hold the hood in place without attachment to the top portion of the body component.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a front view of the present head covering in place of a user's head;

FIG. 2 is a side view of the present head covering in place of a user's head with overlapping layers around the neck;

FIG. 3 is a front view of a fastened head covering showing the locations of the two-part magnet A and overlapping layer B;

FIG. 4 is a front view of an unfastened head covering showing the locations of the two-part magnet A on both sides of the neck overlapping layers.

FIGS. 5-7 represent fabric panels that were used to make up one prototype of a head covering (not drawn to scale).

FIG. 8 illustrates an alternative version of FIG. 7 (not drawn to scale).

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The following summary, for edificational purposes only, outlines some embodiments of the disclosed invention and is not meant to limit the invention in any way. A head covering is formed having a full size hood portion coupled with a magnetic fastening structure in the overlapping layers around the neck. The full size hood portion has an opening that extends vertically from the user's forehead to the chin area and extends horizontally to the entire width of the user's face.

The bottom of the head covering, located in the user's neck region, includes two extensions, one on each side of the hood portion. These extensions are elongated so that they overlap and surround the user's neck. In an embodiment, the two extensions are attached by a two-part magnetic closure. When one part of the closure is brought near the other, the magnets attract and thus fasten the two extensions together. The closure and extensions are designed so that the fastening is quick and easy, without the need for the user to look into a mirror, or be in the light, or use both hands. In a preferred embodiment, this closure is specifically located off center because this location increases the ease of use and decreases the likelihood that the closure will open accidentally. In another preferred embodiment the hood portion of the covering can be retracted to a position off the head without unfastening the closure.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

The head covering is typically worn over the user's head as set forth in FIGS. 1-4. The invention can be arbitrarily divided, for description purposes only, into a “hood” portion designed to fit around the user's head, and a “bottom” portion designed to wrap comfortably but securely around the user's neck as shown in the figures.

The head covering is designed with a particular shape and with fabric having a certain “drape” so as to maintain certain desired shapes as described below. Fabric drape may be defined as a description of the deformation of the fabric produced by gravity when only part of the fabric is directly supported. In the present invention, the fabric drape must resist the effects of gravity enough so that certain shapes are maintained. The specific shapes to be maintained depending on the particular embodiment under consideration.

The “hood” portion is designed with a particular curvature so that it fits around the user's head at a particular distance. The hood portion cannot be too close to the head. Not only would this “crush” certain delicate hairstyles but also it will feel “heavy” on the user's head. When the curvature is properly designed and in connection with additional properties described below, the hood portion feels very “light” on the user's head. In addition, the hood portion may be made loose enough so that the user can—in a simple one-hand operation-pull the hood portion backwards off the top of the user's head so that the hood portion folds backward onto a position around the back of the user's neck. Tests of prototypes show that the head covering according to the present invention is surprisingly resistant to being “blown off” the head and onto the neck by the wind. Yet at the same time even a child can, if the child desires, manually pull the head covering back on and off the neck and head with very little effort.

On the other hand, the hood portion cannot be too loose. For example, the hood portion would not properly protect the user's head from the elements. Also, the hood portion would have a tendency to rotate and dangerously obscure the user's vision (e.g., during driving or crossing the street) and the wind could blow the hood portion off of the top of the user's head.

Another feature is the shape and size of the opening of the hood portion of the head covering. In one preferred embodiment, the opening extends vertically from the top of the user's forehead to below the user's chin. It extends horizontally to expose the entire width of the user's face. Also, the shape of the hood portion at the opening should be, in certain embodiments, slightly but significantly concave. This helps to maintain the proper optimal distance between head covering and the user's head all along the inner surface of the head covering. This helps to maintain both the “light feel” and wind resistance described above.

In addition to the design of the “hood” portion, the bottom portion features extensions which wraps around the user's neck and help to ensure proper functioning. In one embodiment shown in FIG. 1 (front view) and FIG. 2 (side view) these extensions are fastened together with a set of magnetic closures. The closures are positioned so that when fastened the closures are located on the left side of the user's neck.

The inventor contemplates that the head covering is available in several different sizes to comfortably fit a wide variety of users of different ages and body types.

In an alternate configuration, a plurality of magnets may be employed to enable adjustable fastening around the user's neck. In this alternative configuration, the user need not be satisfied with the “preset” tightness of the neck region of the head covering, but rather can adjust the tightness according to the user's desires. More than a single magnetic closure element may be provided on one or both extensions of the bottom portion of the head covering, for such purpose.

In an alternate configuration, the magnets can be hidden, for safety or aesthetic reasons, by being sewn inside the material of the head covering. An additional reason for this configuration is that the magnets can be sewn securely into a specific position on the garment. This improves the ease with which the magnetic closures can be fastened. If left free to move around within the fabric layers, magnets tend to shift position as a result of magnetic forces.

Also, experimentation has shown that the following operation helps to keep the magnets in position. First the magnets are sewn into separate individual fabric pockets with stitching tightly contoured around the shape of each magnet. Then, the same tight stitching around the shape of each magnet is repeated when these fabric pockets are sewn into place on the garment. This double application of contour stitching helps keep the magnets in a more stable position than would be the case with only a single application. The increased stability, in turn, improves the ease of fastening making the garment more convenient. The user can more readily take off and put on the head covering with the simple movement of one hand. The requirement in this preferred embodiment, is that the magnets be secured in place. The inventor contemplates that any mechanisms that can be used to secure the magnets in place would function in the claimed invention.

The inventor specifically defines “magnetic closures” as used in this disclosure to mean either a pair of magnets or a single magnet paired with an element made of ferrous material or other material capable of magnetic attraction.

The inventor contemplates that all ranges of magnets could be useful in the claimed invention, in all sizes and shapes, from weak to strong, from expensive to inexpensive. Both permanent magnets and electromagnets can be used. Moreover, the invention is not dependent on magnetic attraction per se, but only the ease with which magnetic closures can be fastened and unfastened. Accordingly, the inventor specifically contemplates that any and all types of closures will function in the invention, even those arising after the filing date of this invention, so long as those closures have generally similar properties to the magnetic closures described.

Proper location of the closures adds an additional advantage to the invention. When the head covering is viewed from the front, the closures should not be directly in the center of the neck region, just below the chin, but rather offset to one side. Experimentation has shown that the closures are significantly more likely to become accidentally unfastened when placed in the center.

It has also been determined that this configuration is more comfortable for the user. With the closures in the center, the user feels a weight or pressure against the middle of the neck. Also, the center position makes closing the head covering more difficult and time consuming than the off centered position. More specifically, right handed users were able to close the head covering more easily when the closures were located on the left side as against models with closures located in the center. The inventor contemplates that head-coverings designed for left-handed users could use the mirror-image configuration.

Referring generally to FIGS. 1-2, in a preferred embodiment, the closures are offset at least ½ inch from the center of the neck when the closures are fastened together. In another preferred embodiment, the closures are anywhere in the range from ½ inches to 1½ inches from the center. In still another embodiment, the closures are anywhere in the range from ¾ inches to 1¼ inches from the center. In yet another embodiment, the closures are about 1 inch from the center.

The location of the closures, as well as other features of the invention, can be seen in FIGS. 5-7. These figures represent one preferred embodiment of the invention, which incorporates several of the advantages of the invention into one specific prototype. Accordingly, the inventor does not intend that the invention be limited in any way by the illustration of this prototype. FIGS. 5-7 illustrate the outer surfaces of a suitable prototype. More specifically, FIG. 5 illustrates a left panel (as viewed from the user wearing the head cover). FIG. 6 illustrates a back panel; and FIG. 7 illustrates a right panel of a suitable prototype. For clarity sake, these figures have been greatly simplified when compared to formal sewing patterns. The figures do not attempt to take into account, for example, the actual cuts into raw fabric needed for sewing the garment. Also left out of these drawings are modifications for routine sewing operations, such as hemming and the like. The figures are designed merely to represent the general shape of the various components and the way that the components are combined to form a prototype head cover.

The panels are sewn together as follows. The left panel is connected to the back panel by connecting the edge in FIG. 5 from 501 clockwise to 502 to the edge in FIG. 6 from 601 to 602. Similarly the right panel is connected to the back panel by connecting the edge in FIG. 7 from 710 counter-clockwise to 711 to the edge in FIG. 6 from 610 to 611. The magnetic closures are located in the left panel at 503 and in the right panel at 703.

The location of the closures is determined, in part, by the relative lengths of the extensions build into the bottom of the head covering. See for example FIGS. 5, 503 and FIG. 7, 703. The version shown in FIGS. 5-7 is designed so that closures are located on the user's left side when the head covering is worn. The extension on the user's right side (see FIG. 7) is longer than the extension on the user's left side (see FIG. 5). As explained above, this has been determined to be the optimal configuration for right-handed users. Of course, head coverings designed for left-handed users would use the mirror-image configuration.

FIG. 8 illustrates an alternative placement of one of the closures. In some embodiments, particularly those in which the closures are sewn inside of the head covering, the user will prefer the closure to be located somewhat closer to the end of the extension. Compare FIG. 8, 803 with FIG. 7, 703. This alternatively placed closure can be easier to use, for example, when the user is receiving only tactile clues to the location of this closure (like, for example, when the user cannot look in a mirror, or is in poor lighting conditions, or is visually impaired). There are, however, sometimes advantages to the placement of the closure illustrated in FIG. 7, 703, further from the end. The terminal portion of the extension beyond the closure is a useful handle that the user can grip when unfastening the closures.

In order to maintain these functions the fabric panels must not only be cut into the proper shape, but must also have the desired degree of stiffness or “drape” to maintain these shapes. The curvature of the hood portion, the proper location of the magnets and ease of fastening cannot be properly maintained with fabric that does not have the proper “drape.” If the fabric is too thin and flexible, for example, the bottom extensions containing the magnets will “flop around” rather than extend at predetermined locations. This will make fastening more difficult and thus disable an important feature of the invention.

The proper drape can be established using any of several methods known in the garment field. As described below, different methods are appropriate depending on whether the head covering is primarily for children, or adults, for cold weather protection, for wet weather protection, for excessive heat or sunlight protection, or whether it is designed to accessorize formal or casual outfits.

In a preferred embodiment, the configuration for a cold weather head covering is typically made of 3 layers. The interior layer has a satin finish that could be achieved by using silky polyester, or other suitable smooth and light material having the advantage of not mussing the hairstyle of the user.

A middle layer is a thin flexible drapeable, insulating layer which may be formed of Thinsulate®, or other suitable insulating materials.

The exterior layer can be made with a water repellent treated fabric, which may be ultrasuede, velvet, wool challis or poly/cotton twill, or other suitable water repellent materials.

In another configuration for cool or rainy weather the head covering has 3 layers. The interior layer has a satin finish, achieved by using silky polyester, or other suitable smooth and light material providing the advantage of not mussing the hairstyle of the user. The middle layer is a lightweight flexible drapeable, non-insulating layer, used not for additional warmth but to provide proper shape and drape or to affix the magnets. The exterior layer has a water repellent treated fabric, which may be lightweight poly/cotton twill, or suede polyester, or other suitable water repellent materials.

In an alternate configuration, the head covering for cold weather or conditions could be made with only 2 layers, provided that the exterior layer has enough thickness to hold its shape and provides sufficient warmth for cold temperatures, Suitable materials for the exterior layer may include fur, faux fir, boiled wool, Loden wool, or other similar full-bodied fabrics. The interior layer has a satin finish that could be achieved by using silky polyester, or other suitable smooth and light material having the advantage of not mussing the hairstyle of the user.

In an alternate embodiment, a 2-layer configuration for warm weather or conditions may use materials having sufficient weight and drape but that do not provide warmth. The interior layer has a satin finish that could be achieved by using silky polyester, or other suitable smooth and light material having the advantage of not mussing the hairstyle of the user.

The present invention is also designed for use in a wide variety of additional environments, including warm weather, hot weather, sunny weather or in the presence of ultraviolet waves.

The present invention, when incorporating a selection of the features above, provides a quick and easy head covering that does not require full manual dexterity to be used by members of senior or baby boomer markets, young children, visually impaired individuals, or anyone with arthritis or other physical conditions that affect hands or fingers.

A combination of its roomy design and magnetic closure enables the user to put the head covering on or off or just draped in back while it is left around the user's neck, in a matter of seconds. Whether the user is in and out of a car or public transportation, the user does not have to be too hot or too cold, or wet instead of dry. In addition, the soft, drapeable fabric can easily be shifted in any direction on the user's head or neck to accommodate different hairstyles, while maintaining the desired degree of protection for the user's head, neck and face.

In addition, the present invention provides a way to eliminate “hat hair” problems, by preserving the hairstyle of the user through the combination of: a satiny interior layer that glides over the hair; and, a roomy design, lightweight construction allowing easy handling.

Another advantage of the present invention is that it provides a non-bulky, thin, drapeable head covering which can be easily folded and fit into a handbag, tote, briefcase, a large pocket, etc.

The present invention may be machine or hand washable (depending on outer fabric and any embellishments, like button, brooch/appliqué detail). The insulating material and inner smooth satin-finish polyester may be machine washable.

The present invention provides a stylish and flattering head covering for different age groups. It can be composed of any variety of exterior fabrics, combined with colored/printed fashion linings, for the sophisticated consumer. It can also be manufactured with trendy fabrications and details for a younger demographic. Fabrics, colors and details can also be tailored to pre-teens and children.

The present invention presents a head covering with a hood style which is universally flattering to different features, face shapes and ages. In an alternative embodiment an optional “brooch/button/appliqué” at neck adds to fashion appeal.

The invention is also suitable for a variety of hair styles, from short hair to long hair and, unlike many prior art head covers, is even comfortable and practical to users having long pony tails, braids, or pig-tails.