Title:
ADJUSTABLE-LENGTH COMFORT HEADBAND
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A headband has a body and two end members with comfort tips, adjustable-length tips, or both. In some embodiments, comfort tips are provided by soft pads positioned on the inner surface of the end members. In other embodiments, adjustable-length tips are provided by extension mechanisms including for example one or more fingers along which the body and the end members axially slide relative to each other, laterally extending tabs, and openings into which the tabs are received to retain the end members in position. In addition, a discrete-positioning mechanism can be provided for example by notches in the fingers that receive posts of the end member to form a detent.



Inventors:
Recchion, Justin (Atlanta, GA, US)
Chudzik, Stan (Alpharetta, GA, US)
Application Number:
12/603300
Publication Date:
04/22/2010
Filing Date:
10/21/2009
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A45D8/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
NOBREGA, TATIANA L
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Lempia Summerfield Katz LLC (B&S) (Chicago, IL, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A headband for wearing on a user's head, comprising: an elongate body having a generally semi-circular shape and having first and second ends; first and second end members that are positioned at the first and second ends of the body, respectively, the first and second end members each having an inner surface that faces the user's head when the headband is worn; and first and second extension mechanisms that adjustably couple the first and second end members to the first and second ends of the body, respectively, so that the end members move axially relative to the body between a retracted position in which the length of the headband is minimized and an extended position in which the length of the headband is maximized so that the length of the headband can be adjusted for the comfort of the wearer.

2. The headband of claim 1, wherein the extension mechanisms each include two laterally resiliently deflectable fingers extending from the respective body end, a hollow portion formed in the end member that slideably receives the fingers as the end member is moved between the retracted and the extended positions, two tabs extending laterally one from each finger, and two lateral slots in the end member that each slideably receive one of the tabs, wherein the slots are each defined in part by a contact surface against which the respective tab abuts to limit the travel of the end member relative to the body.

3. The headband of claim 1, wherein the extension mechanisms each include at least one finger extending from the respective end member or body end and at least one hollow portion formed in the other of the end member or body end, the finger slideable within the hollow portion as the end member is moved between the retracted and the extended positions.

4. The headband of claim 3, wherein the extension mechanisms each include a discrete-positioning mechanism that defines discrete end-member positions and releasably retains the end members in those positions, wherein the discrete-positioning mechanisms each include at least one tab extending from the end member, the body end, or the finger, and a series of openings in another of the end member, the body end, or the finger that each releasably receive the tab to define the discrete end-member positions and releasably retain the end members in those positions.

5. The headband of claim 1, wherein the extension mechanisms each include a discrete-positioning mechanism that defines discrete end-member positions and releasably retains the end members in those positions, wherein the discrete-positioning mechanisms each include at least one tab extending from the end member, the body end, or a finger extending from the end member or the body end, and a series of openings in another of the end member, the body end, or the finger that each releasably receive the tab to define the discrete end-member positions and releasably retain the end members in those positions.

6. The headband of claim 5, wherein the serial openings are formed in the finger, the finger is laterally resiliently deflectable, and the tab is provided by a post that is positioned within the hollow portion of the end member and that is receivable in each of the serial openings to define the discrete end-member positions.

7. The headband of claim 5, wherein the serial openings are formed in the finger, the tab laterally extends from the end member, and the tab is receivable in each of the serial openings to define the discrete end-member positions.

8. The headband of claim 5, wherein the serial openings are formed in the end of the body, the tab laterally extends from the end member, and the tab is receivable in each of the serial openings to define the discrete end-member positions.

9. The headband of claim 1, further comprising first and second shrouds that cover and conceal the first and second extension mechanisms, respectively, when the first and second end members are in their retracted positions.

10. The headband of claim 9, wherein the shrouds are provided by sleeves that extend from the respective end member or body end.

11. The headband of claim 9, wherein the shrouds are provided by bellows that extend from the respective end member or body end, or both.

12. A headband for wearing on a user's head, comprising: an elongate body having a generally semi-circular shape and having first and second ends; first and second end members that are positioned at the first and second ends of the body, respectively, the first and second end members each having an inner surface that faces the user's head when the headband is worn; and first and second pads on the first and second end members, respectively, wherein the pads are positioned on the inner surfaces to absorb compressive forces and reduce discomfort.

13. The headband of claim 12, wherein the first and second pads and the first and second end members are integrally formed of a single material.

14. The headband of claim 12, wherein the first and second pads cover substantially all of the inner surfaces of the first and second end members.

15. The headband of claim 12, wherein the first and second pads are separate elements that are attached to the inner surfaces of the first and second end members.

16. The headband of claim 12, wherein the first and second end members each include a plurality of axially extending teeth that resiliently deflect between a normal position and a deflected position.

17. The headband of claim 12, further comprising first and second extension mechanisms that adjustably couple the first and second end members to the first and second ends of the body, respectively, so that the end members move axially relative to the body between a retracted position in which the length of the headband is minimized and an extended position in which the length of the headband is maximized so that the length of the headband can be adjusted for the comfort of the wearer.

18. A headband for wearing on a user's head, comprising: an elongate body having a generally semi-circular shape and having first and second ends; first and second end members that are positioned at the first and second ends of the body, respectively, the first and second end members each having an inner surface that faces the user's head when the headband is worn; first and second pads on the first and second end members, respectively, wherein the pads are positioned on the inner surfaces to absorb compressive forces and reduce discomfort; and first and second extension mechanisms that adjustably couple the first and second end members to the first and second ends of the body, respectively, so that the end members move axially relative to the body between a retracted position in which the length of the headband is minimized and an extended position in which the length of the headband is maximized so that the length of the headband can be adjusted for the comfort of the wearer, wherein the extension mechanisms each include two laterally resiliently deflectable fingers extending from the respective body end, a hollow portion formed in the end member that slideably receives the fingers as the end member is moved between the retracted and the extended positions, two tabs extending laterally one from each finger, and two lateral slots in the end member that each slideably receive one of the finger tabs, wherein the slots are each defined in part by a contact surface against which the respective tab abuts to limit the travel of the end member relative to the body, and wherein the extension mechanisms each include a discrete-positioning mechanism that defines discrete end-member positions and releasably retains the end members in those positions.

19. The headband of claim 18, wherein the discrete-positioning mechanisms each include two series of openings formed in the two fingers and arranged facing each other in aligned pairs, and one post that is received in the pairs of openings to define the discrete end-member positions and releasably retain the end members in those positions.

20. The headband of claim 18, further comprising first and second shrouds that cover and conceal the first and second extension mechanisms, respectively, when the first and second end members are in their retracted positions, wherein the shrouds are provided by sleeves or bellows that extend from the respective end member or body end.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

This application claims the priority benefit of U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 61/107,000, filed Oct. 21, 2008, which is hereby incorporated herein by reference.

TECHNICAL FIELD

The present invention relates generally to hairstyling accessories and, in particular, to headbands for holding hair in place.

BACKGROUND

Many headband users are dissatisfied with the comfort of currently available headbands. Typical headbands are U-shaped and have end tips that contact and press against the sides of the head to hold the headband in place. These pressure points tend to cause discomfort to the wearer of the headband, especially after prolonged use. In addition, typical headbands are sold in only a few sizes, so most consumers have to try on multiple headbands hoping to get the correct fit. This wastes time and causes frustration to the purchasers of the headbands. And if a good fit is not found, then the consumer is left wearing a headband that is not comfortable.

There have been several known attempts to solve the problem of poor headband comfort. For example, some headband designs include soft pads intended to reduce pressure at the headband tip contact areas. But these designs do not eliminate the uncomfortable pressure points, they just somewhat reduce the discomfort.

Accordingly, it can be seen that needs exist for improvements to headbands to provide for increased comfort. It is to the provision of solutions to this and other problems that the present invention is primarily directed.

SUMMARY

Generally described, the present invention relates to headbands with comfort features. The headbands each include a body and two end members with soft tips, adjustable-length tips, or both. The soft tips and the adjustable-length tips reduce the pressure of the tips on the wearer's head, thereby reducing the discomfort from wearing the headband even over an extended period of time.

The comfort tips are provided by resiliently deflectable/compressible soft pads positioned on the inner surfaces of the end members. In some embodiments, the soft pads and the end members are integrally formed together as a single piece of a single material, with the inner surface of the end member forming the inner surface of the soft pad. In other embodiments, the soft pads are separate structures that are attached to the inner surfaces of the end members. And in other embodiments, the end members include axially extending teeth that are resiliently deflectable, with or without the soft pads.

The adjustable-length tips are provided by extension mechanisms including overlapping (e.g., telescoping) parts of the end members and the body ends. In some embodiments, the extension mechanisms include one or more fingers extending from the body end or the end member that are slidingly and telescopically receivable in a hollow portion of the other of the body end or the end member. In addition, some embodiments include shrouds, such as sleeves or bellows, extending over the internal components (e.g., the fingers) of the extension mechanisms to conceal them and prevent hair snags and breakage.

Furthermore, the extension mechanisms can each include a discrete-positioning mechanism that defines discrete end-member positions and releasably retains the end members in those positions. In some embodiments, the discrete-positioning mechanisms each include at least one tab extending from the end member, the body end, or a finger extending from the end member or the body end, and a series of openings in another of the end member, the body end, or the finger that each releasably receive the tab to define the discrete end-member positions and releasably retain the end members in those positions.

The specific techniques and structures employed by the invention to improve over the drawbacks of the prior devices and accomplish the advantages described herein will become apparent from the following detailed description of the example embodiments of the invention and the appended drawings and claims.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a headband according to a first example embodiment of the present invention, showing the headband flexed from its normal semicircular-shaped position to an outwardly flexed position.

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of one end of the headband of FIG. 1, without its adjustable end member.

FIG. 3 shows the headband end of FIG. 2 with its end member in the extended position.

FIG. 4 shows the headband end of FIG. 2 with its end member in the retracted position.

FIG. 5 is a longitudinal cross-sectional view of one end of the headband of FIG. 1 with its end member shown in the extended position.

FIG. 6 shows the headband end of FIG. 5 with its end member in the retracted position.

FIG. 7 is a perspective view of an end member according to an alternative embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 8 is a perspective view of one end of a headband according to a second example embodiment of the present invention, with a portion of its end member cut away for clarity and with the remaining portion shown in cross section.

FIG. 9 is a longitudinal cross-sectional view of the headband end of FIG. 8.

FIG. 10 is a perspective view of one end of a headband according to a third example embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 11 is a perspective view of one end of a headband according to a fourth example embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 12A is an inner side view of the headband end of FIG. 11 showing the end member in the retracted position.

FIG. 12B shows the headband end of FIG. 12B with the end member in the extended position.

FIG. 12C is a front edge view of the headband end of FIG. 11 showing the end member teeth flexed outwardly in phantom lines.

FIG. 13 is a perspective view of one end of a headband according to a fifth example embodiment of the present invention, with a portion of the headband body concealed and shown in phantom lines.

FIG. 14 is an inner side view of the headband end of FIG. 13 showing the end member in the retracted position.

FIG. 15 shows the headband end of FIG. 14 with the end member in the extended position.

FIG. 16 is a perspective view of one end of a headband according to a sixth example embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 17 is an inner side view of the headband end of FIG. 16 showing the end member in the retracted position.

FIG. 18 shows the headband end of FIG. 17 with the end member in the extended position.

FIG. 19 is an inner side view of one end of a headband according to a seventh example embodiment of the present invention, showing the end member in the retracted position.

FIG. 20 shows the headband end of FIG. 19 with the end member in the extended position.

FIG. 21 is a perspective view of one end of a headband according to an eighth example embodiment of the present invention, showing the end member in the retracted position.

FIG. 22 shows the headband end of FIG. 21 with the end member in the extended position.

DESCRIPTION OF EXAMPLE EMBODIMENTS OF THE INVENTION

Generally described, in one aspect the present invention provides headbands that have adjustable end members so that the overall length of the headband can be increased or decreased. In this way, the headband can be adjusted to allow customized distribution of the inward (toward the head) forces of the end members on the wear's head for the comfort of the individual wearer. In another aspect, the end members of the headbands of the present invention include soft pads to provide enhanced comfort for the wearer. The soft pads contact the wear's head at pressure concentration locations, but the pads reduce any discomfort. These headbands can be manufactured and assembled quickly and easily of inexpensive materials. It will be understood that some embodiments include the adjustable end members without the soft pads and that some other embodiments include end members with the soft pads but that are not adjustable.

FIGS. 1-6 show a headband 10 according to a first example embodiment of the present invention. The headband 10 includes a main body 12 and first and second end members 14 and 16. The body 12 is curved into a semicircular shape, for example, the general shape of a “U” or a horseshoe, as is common for conventional headbands. In addition, the body 12 is made of a flexible and resilient material such as acetate, ABS, nylon, K-RESIN, or a composite of more than one of these. By using at least one of these materials, the body 12 can be flexed (as indicated by the directional arrows in FIG. 1) from its normal semicircular-shaped position to an outwardly flexed position depicted in FIG. 1. And then the headband 10 can be placed on the wearer's head and released so that it resiliently returns to about its normal semicircular-shaped position while generally conforming to the shape of the wearer's head. Furthermore, the body 12 includes an inner surface 18 that is adjacent the wearer's hair when worn and an outer surface 20 that is opposite the inner surface. The inner surface 18 may include gripping elements 19 such as protrusions, higher-friction strips, etc., as depicted in FIG. 4.

In addition, the body 12 includes a first end 22 and a second end 24 opposite the first end. The first end member 14 extends from and is adjustably coupled to the first end 22 of the body 12 and the second end member 16 extends from and is adjustably coupled to the second end 24. The end members 14 and 16 each include an inner surface 26 and 27 that is adjacent the wearer's hair when worn and an outer surface 28 and 29 that is opposite the inner surface.

The first and second end members 14 and 16 can include soft pads 30 and 32, respectively. The pads 30 and 32 are molded or otherwise made of a soft material such as a thermoplastic elastomer (TPE), polyurethane, or another soft material. As noted above, however, other embodiments can include end members without the soft pads, and instead the inner surface of the end members can be made of a rigid material.

In the depicted embodiment, the end members 14 and 16 each include a shell 15 and 17 defining the inner surface 26 and 27 and the outer surface 28 and 29, and the shells and the pads 30 and 32 are a single integral structure made of a single soft material suitable for providing a cushioning effect by the pads (see FIGS. 1 and 5-6). Thus, the pads 30 and 32 are defined by the entire inner surfaces 26 and 27 of the end members 14 and 16.

In an alternative embodiments, the pads extend over only a portion of the inner surfaces of the end members, and the shells and the pads are separate structures with the shells made of one material (e.g., a more rigid, more shape-retaining material) and the pads made of a different material (e.g., a softer material). For example, FIG. 7 shows an end member 114 of an alternative embodiment, with the pad 130 formed by a disc-shaped slab or layer of material adhered or otherwise attached to the inner surface 126 of the shell 115. In other alternative embodiments, the pads are inset into the inner surface so they do not extend outwardly (that is, inwardly towards the wearer's head) as far beyond the inner surfaces.

As noted above, the first end member 14 extends from and is adjustably coupled to the first end 22 of the body 12 and the second end member 16 extends from and is adjustably coupled to the second end 24. That is, the end members 14 and 16 are movably coupled to the body 12 so that the end members slide axially relative to the body between a retracted position adjacent the body (see FIG. 4) and an extended position away from the body (see FIG. 3). Any of a number of different types of extension mechanisms can be included for each end member 14 and 16 to provide this end-member extension capability.

In the depicted embodiment, each of the end-member extension mechanisms includes two resilient spaced-apart fingers 34 extending axially from the body 12. The fingers 34 are resiliently deflectable in lateral directions toward each other and away from each other, as indicated by the directional arrows in FIG. 2. The fingers 34 each include a laterally extending tab 36, with one finger's tab facing forward (relative to the wearer's face) and the other finger's tab facing opposite/rearward. The end member shells 15 and 17 include hollow portions that receive the two tabbed fingers 34 in them, and they each have two openings (e.g., slots) 38 formed in them with one slot facing forward (relative to the wearer's face) and the other facing opposite/rearward. The fingers 34 overlap with and fit into the hollow shells 15 and 17 coaxially (i.e., telescopically), and the tabs 36 extend out through the slots 38 in the shells. Because the fingers 34 are resiliently deflectable, they can be laterally flexed toward each other to assemble the hollow end members 14 and 16 onto the tabbed fingers, and then the tabs 36 will flex back to their neutral state and into the slots 38. The slots 38 have an axial (relative to the body) length L1 that is greater than the axial length L2 of the corresponding tabs 36 so that the end members 14 and 16 can slide along the axial length of the fingers 34 a distance L3 equal to L1 minus L2. The additional axial length L3 of the slots 34 (relative to the axial length L2 of the corresponding tabs 36) defines the limit of the travel of the end members 14 and 16, with the upper end walls 35 (toward the body 12) of the slots 34 defining stop surfaces 35 that limit the travel of the end members 14 and 16. In this way, the end members 14 and 16 slide axially relative to the body 12 between the retracted position and the extended position, and the abutment of the tabs 36 against the stop surfaces 35 prevents the end members from sliding past the extended position and off of the body.

The fingers 34 can be provided by any axially extending members, whether substantially elongate or not. The tabs 36 can be provided by any structures that protrude laterally from the fingers 34 and extend through or at least into the slots 38. And the slots 38 can be provided by any shape of elongate opening through or recessed into the end member shells 15 and 17 that the tabs 36 can extend through or into. The tabs 36 need not extend all the way through the slots 38, and the slots need not extend all the way through the shells 15 and 17 (the slots can be provided by elongate recesses in the inner walls of the end members). With the tabs 36 extending all the way through the slots 38, however, they can be manually pushed in by the user to disassemble the end members 14 and 16 from the body 12.

In addition, the headband 10 includes a discrete-positioning mechanism that releasably retains the end members 14 and 16 in desired positions relative to the body 12. In the depicted embodiment, the two resilient spaced-apart fingers 34 have inner surfaces 44 facing each other and forming a slot 46, each facing surface defining a series of openings (e.g., notches) 40, with the notches of one finger facing and aligned with the notches of the other finger to form a series of cooperating notch pairs (see FIG. 2). Also, the end members 14 and 16 each include at least one tab (e.g., a post or other catch member) 42 positioned inside them (see FIG. 5). The posts 42 slide along the slots 46 and into the notch pairs 40, which form detents and define discrete positions. That is, the fingers 34 deflect away from each other as the post 42 slides along the slot 46 between notches 40, and then they deflect back toward each other when the post is slid into one of the cooperating notch pairs 40. The engagement of the post 42 with each of the notch pairs 40 defines a series of discrete positions, including the retracted position (FIGS. 4 and 6), the extended position (FIGS. 3 and 5), and one or more intermediate positions. In this way, the user can apply an axial force to the end members 14 and 16 to slidingly adjust them to the desired positions with the posts 42 engaging pairs of the notches 40 to hold the end members in that position relative to the body 12.

In alternative embodiments, instead of two resilient spaced-apart fingers, the extension mechanisms each include a single finger extending axially from the body, with a single tab or two oppositely extending tabs that extend through a single slot or two oppositely arranged slots in each end member shell, and/or with a single series of notches cooperating with the post to form a detent. The tab or tabs extending through the shell slot or slots also act as a catch that prevents the finger from being removed from the end member. In other embodiments, the end member slots do not extend all the way through the end member shells and instead are provided by recesses that receive the tabs. In these embodiments, the tabs are not exposed so there is less chance of hair snagging in the tabs.

In some other embodiments, the slots through the end member shells are provided by a series of shorter openings (slots or holes) such that the engagement of the tabs with each of the serial openings defines the discrete positions, with the upper and lower edges of the tabs ramped so that the tabs deflect laterally into and out of the serial openings. Similarly, in yet other embodiments the slots through the end member shells each include one or more spaced-apart protrusions (i.e., narrowed portions of the slot opening that the tabs cannot slide axially past) that slightly engage and snag the tabs with a friction fit to act as a detent, with the protrusions defining a series of wider portions of the slot opening that define the discrete positions. In these embodiments, the notches and finger slots need not be included.

In still other embodiments, the extension mechanisms each include at least one finger extending axially from the end member, with at least one tab that extends through at least one slot in the body so that the end member slides axially relative to the body (e.g., similar to the depicted embodiment except with the fingers extending from the end members instead of the body and with the slots in the body instead of the end members). In still yet other embodiments, instead of the semi-circular notches and cylindrical posts depicted, the notches are formed by a saw-toothed, scalloped, or other regularly or irregularly shaped surfaces and the posts have polygonal or other regular or irregular shapes. It should be noted that another number of notches can be provided, with the number of notch pairs defining the number of discrete positions provided. And in other embodiments, instead of the end members including hollow shells that receive the fingers, the end members are provided by wall members that overlap (non-telescopically) with the fingers and have cooperating tabs forming the discrete positions.

FIGS. 8 and 9 show a portion of a headband 210 according to a second example embodiment that is similar to the embodiment described above. In this embodiment, however, the extension mechanisms include at least one finger extending from the body and forming at least one series of openings, and at least one tab formed on the end member. Thus, in this embodiment the tabs and openings are reversed relative to the first embodiment. In the depicted embodiment, for example, one finger 234 extends from each end of the body 212, each of the fingers forms two series of openings 238 (one forwardly facing and one opposite/rearwardly facing), and two (inwardly facing) tabs 236 are formed on the front and back sides of the end member 214. The engagement of the pair of tabs 236 in each of the pairs of openings 238 defines the discrete positions of the end members 214.

FIG. 10 shows a portion of a headband 310 according to a third example embodiment that is similar to the embodiments described above. In this embodiment, however, the extension mechanisms each include at least one finger extending from the end member and having at least one tab that is received in each of a series of openings in the body. In the depicted embodiment, for example, one finger 334 extends from the end member 314 and has one tab 336 that is received in each of a series of openings 338 in the body 312. The engagement of the tab 336 in each of the openings 338 defines the discrete positions of the end members 314.

FIGS. 11-12C show a portion of a headband 410 according to a fourth example embodiment that is similar to the embodiments described above. In this embodiment, however, the end members 414 each include at their tips axially extending elongate teeth 450 that resiliently deflect from a normal position (as shown by the solid lines of FIG. 12C) to a deflected position (as shown by the phantom lines of FIG. 12C). This resilient deflection of the tips of the end member 414 increases the comfort to the wearer. This feature can be in addition to or instead of the soft pads of the first embodiment. In the depicted embodiment, there are five elongated, parallel, tine-like teeth 450 formed as one piece 451 that is attached to the end member shell 415 (e.g., by a hole-and-bump detent 453), though more or fewer teeth can be provided and the end member shell and teeth can be integrally formed together as single piece. In addition, the depicted embodiment includes the flexible teeth feature in combination with an extension mechanism for axially adjusting the end members 414 relative to the body 412 and in combination with a shroud (discussed below), but this feature can be included in headbands without these other features. FIGS. 13-15 show a portion of a headband 510 according to a fifth example embodiment that is similar to the first embodiment described above. In this embodiment, however, the headband 510 includes a shroud 552 that completely or at least substantially covers the finger 534 (or other internal element of the extension mechanism) so that it is concealed from view (completely or at least substantially) when the end member 514 is adjusted out of the retracted position to the extended position or any intermediate position. In the depicted embodiment, the shroud 552 is provided by a sleeve that extends axially from the end member 514 onto the body 512, so that the sleeve overlaps with and covers the end of the body when the end member is in the retracted position (see FIG. 14), the extended position (see FIG. 15), and any intermediate positions. In this way, the internal components of the extension mechanism are completely covered, which provides for a more aesthetically pleasing design and also prevents hair snagging or breakage. The shroud 552 and the end member 514 may be integral and made (e.g., molded) as a single piece (as depicted) or they may be separate elements that are assembled together. In other embodiments, the shroud covers the finger on the outer-surface side of the body but covers only some or none of the finger on the inner-surface side of the body, or vice versa.

FIGS. 16-18 show a portion of a headband 610 according to a sixth example embodiment that is similar to the fifth embodiment described above. In this embodiment, however, the shroud 652 is provided by a bellows that covers the finger (or other internal element of the extension mechanism) so that it is concealed from view when the end member 614 is adjusted between the retracted position (see FIG. 17), the extended position (see FIG. 18), and any intermediate positions. The bellows shroud 652 flexes accordion-like as the end member 614 is axially adjusted. That is, the bellows shroud 652 collapses and expands axially a sufficient distance to allow movement of the end member 614 between the retracted and extended positions. The bellows shroud 652 may be fixedly attached to both the end member 614 and the body 612 or to only one of them, or it may be snugly fit onto (but not attached to) both the end member and the body or to only one of them, as desired.

FIGS. 19-22 show a portion of a headband 710 according to a seventh example embodiment that is similar to the embodiments described above. In this embodiment, however, the headband 710 does not include an extension mechanism shroud or a discrete-positioning mechanism. Instead, the end member 714 slides smoothly between the retracted position (see FIGS. 19 and 21) and the extended position (see FIGS. 20 and 22), with no discrete intermediate positions. In the depicted embodiment, a finger 734 extends from the body 712 and is telescopically received within a hollow portion of the end member 714, or vice versa, with a smooth sliding fit. The telescopically arranged end members 714 and body 712 are sized with a sufficiently snug fit that they hold their positions in normal use, but not so snug of a fit that they cannot be slid between positions by the application of a force that the typical user can manually and easily muster.

It is to be understood that this invention is not limited to the specific devices, methods, conditions, or parameters described and/or shown herein, and that the terminology used herein is for the purpose of describing particular embodiments by way of example only. Thus, the terminology is intended to be broadly construed and is not intended to be limiting of the claimed invention. For example, as used in the specification including the appended claims, the singular forms “a,” “an,” and “one” include the plural, the term “or” means “and/or,” and reference to a particular numerical value includes at least that particular value, unless the context clearly dictates otherwise. In addition, any methods described herein are not intended to be limited to the sequence of steps described but can be carried out in other sequences, unless expressly stated otherwise herein.

While the invention has been shown and described in exemplary forms, it will be apparent to those skilled in the art that many modifications, additions, and deletions can be made therein without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention as defined by the following claims.