Title:
Garment with Elastomeric Coating
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A garment comprises a fabric and an elastomeric coating on at least a portion of at least one side of the fabric to provide designed, localized stretch and support in a garment, wherein the elastomeric coating is located where reduced stretch of the garment is desired. Garments having structures to facilitate cooling and heating are also described.



Inventors:
Vitarana, Ranil Kirthi (COLOMBO, LK)
Application Number:
12/901143
Publication Date:
04/14/2011
Filing Date:
10/08/2010
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
2/243.1
International Classes:
A41D27/00; A41D1/00
View Patent Images:
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20110054372CERVICAL SPINE AND NECK SUPPORT DEVICEMarch, 2011Murnaghan
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20120251597END PRODUCTS INCORPORATING SHORT-CUT MICROFIBERSOctober, 2012Gupta et al.
20080301861THERMALLY PROTECTIVE SURVIVAL GARMENTDecember, 2008Meistrell et al.



Primary Examiner:
HOEY, ALISSA L
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP (WA) (Washington, DC, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A garment comprising: a fabric and an elastomeric coating on at least a portion of at least one side of the fabric, wherein the elastomeric coating is located where reduced stretch of the garment is desired.

2. The garment of claim 1, wherein the elastomeric coating forms at least one shape including at least one of the following: circular, triangular, octagonal, and hexagonal.

3. The garment of claim 1, wherein the elastomeric coating forms a pattern of shapes including at least one of the following: circular, triangular, octagonal, and hexagonal.

4. The garment of claim 1, wherein the elastomeric coating forms at least one dot.

5. The garment of claim 1, wherein the elastomeric coating forms a pattern of dots.

6. The garment of claim 1, wherein the elastomeric coating forms at least one stripe.

7. The garment of claim 1, wherein the elastomeric coating forms a pattern of stripes.

8. The garment of claim 1, wherein the thickness of the elastomeric coating is designed to vary along the extent of the elastomeric coating.

9. The garment of claim 1, wherein the elastomeric coating is applied to the interior of the garment.

10. The garment of claim 1, wherein the elastomeric coating is applied to the exterior of the garment.

11. The garment of claim 1, wherein the elastomeric coating is applied to both the interior and exterior of the garment.

12. The garment of claim 10, wherein the elastomeric coating on the exterior of the garment is colored with a pigment.

13. The garment of claim 9, wherein the elastomeric coating on the interior of the garment is embedded with flock fibers.

14. A garment comprising: a fabric and an elastomeric coating on at least a portion of the side of the fabric constituting the inner side of the garment, wherein the elastomeric coating forms at least one channel.

15. The garment of claim 14, wherein the at least one channel is substantially bounded by the fabric on one side and the elastomeric coating on two sides.

16. The garment of claim 15, wherein the elastomeric coating holds at least a portion of the fabric away from the skin of a wearer when the garment is worn.

17. The garment of claim 16, wherein the at least one channel is substantially bounded by the fabric on one side, the elastomeric coating on two sides, and the skin of the wearer on one side when the garment is worn.

18. The garment of claim 14, wherein the geometry of at least one channel is one of the following: curved, straight, zigzag, and diagonal.

19. The garment of claim 14, wherein the elastomeric coating is in the form of dots or lines.

20. The garment of claim 14, wherein the fabric is a breathable fabric.

21. The garment of claim 14 further comprising at least one opening in the fabric, wherein the at least one opening allows the at least one channel to communicate with ambient air.

22. The garment of claim 21 further comprising a plurality of openings in the fabric, wherein the plurality of openings allows the at least one channel to communicate with ambient air.

23. The garment of claim 21, wherein at least one of the openings is located at a shoulder seam.

24. The garment of claim 21, wherein at least one of the openings is located at a chest area.

25. The garment of claim 22, wherein at least one opening is located at a shoulder seam and at least one opening is located at a torso area, wherein at least one channel is able to communicate with ambient air by way of the opening at a shoulder seam on one end of the channel and by way of the opening at a torso area at the other end of the channel.

26. The garment of claim 14, further comprising at least one slit in the fabric, wherein the at least one slit is located at a channel and allows the channel to communicate with ambient air.

27. The garment of claim 14, wherein the elastomeric coating is embedded with flock fibers.

28. The garment of claim 14, further comprising: a second elastomeric coating on at least a portion of at least one side of the fabric, wherein the second elastomeric coating is located where reduced stretch of the garment is desired.

29. A garment comprising: a fabric and an elastomeric coating on at least a portion of the side of the fabric constituting the inner side of the garment, wherein the elastomeric coating forms at least one air pocket.

30. The garment of claim 29, wherein the air pocket is substantially bounded by the fabric on one side and the elastomeric coating on at least three sides.

31. The garment of claim 30, wherein the elastomeric coating holds at least a portion of the fabric away from the skin of a wearer when the garment is worn.

32. The garment of claim 31, wherein the air pockets are substantially bounded by the fabric on one side, the elastomeric coating on at least three sides, and the skin of the wearer on one side when the garment is worn.

33. The garment of claim 32, wherein the air pocket is designed to temporarily trap air therein.

34. The garment of claim 29, wherein the air pockets are in the shape of at least one of the following: square, rectangle, circle, triangle, octagon, and hexagon.

35. The garment of claim 29, wherein the fabric is a non-breathable fabric.

36. The garment of claim 29, wherein the elastomeric coating is embedded with flock fibers.

37. The garment of claim 36, wherein elastomeric coating forming a boundary of at least one air pocket is embedded with flock fibers.

38. The garment of claim 36, wherein elastomeric coating inside at least one air pocket is embedded with flock fibers.

39. The garment of claim 30, wherein the elastomeric coating holds at least a portion of the fabric away from a tight fitting article of clothing worn by a wearer when the garment is worn.

40. The garment of claim 31, wherein the air pockets are substantially bounded by the fabric on one side, the elastomeric coating on at least three sides, and the tight fitting article of clothing worn by the wearer on one side when the garment is worn.

41. The garment of claim 29, further comprising: a second elastomeric coating on at least a portion of at least one side of the fabric, wherein the second elastomeric coating is located where reduced stretch of the garment is desired.

42. The garment of claim 1 wherein the elastomeric coating is a silicone.

43. The garment of claim 14 wherein the elastomeric coating is a silicone.

44. The garment of claim 29 wherein the elastomeric coating is a silicone.

Description:

This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Application No. 61/251,354, filed Oct. 14, 2009, which is hereby incorporated by reference.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to garments, and more particularly, to garments having controlled stretch and designed thermal properties.

2. Discussion of the Related Art

Garments are often made of a material with a uniform modulus of elasticity. However, some areas of the body require more support than others. Further, some areas of the body require more control and restriction of muscle movement than others. Accordingly, there is a need for a garment with controlled stretch properties. Further, it may be desirable for a garment to aid in cooling or insulating the wearer depending on ambient conditions and the activities of the wearer. Certain garments with various means of thermal management are known in the prior art. However, these garments are often cumbersome for athletic or even normal movement, are uncomfortable, and are difficult to manufacture. Accordingly there is also a need for a garment with desirable thermal management characteristics that is relatively easy to manufacture and is comfortable for the wearer.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

Accordingly, the present invention is directed to a garment with elastomeric coatings that substantially obviates one or more of the problems due to limitations and disadvantages of the related art.

In one aspect of the invention, a garment with controlled stretch and support characteristics is provided. In certain embodiments, a garment is described that includes a fabric having a plurality of elastomeric coatings on at least a portion of at least one side of the fabric, wherein the coating is designed to be located in a portion of the garment where reduced stretch is desired. In other embodiments, a coating is placed on a fabric to enhance the support in a particularized area of the garment.

In certain aspects, the elastomeric coating may be formed in various configurations such as dots, stripes, circles, triangles, octagons, and hexagons and combinations and patterns of various configurations. The thickness of the elastomeric coating may be varied according to design specifications in particular embodiments. The coating or coatings may be applied to the inside, outside or inside and outside of a garment. The interior of the garment may be embedded with flock fibers and silicone may be employed as an elastomeric coating.

The present invention also provides a garment that aids in cooling the wearer. In one aspect, the garment includes a fabric and one or more elastomeric coatings on at least a portion of the inside of the fabric of the garment with the elastomeric coating forming at least one channel in the fabric of the garment. In one aspect, a channel is formed that is substantially bounded by the fabric on one side and the elastomeric coating on two sides such that at least a portion of the fabric is held away from the skin of a wearer when the garment is worn. In another aspect the elastomeric coating forms a channel that engages the wearer.

The geometry of the channels may be varied including curved, straight, zigzag, and diagonal shapes and the coating forming the channels may be in the form of dots or lines. One or more openings may be provided throughout various locations of the garment that permit communication of a channel or channels with ambient air. In certain embodiments, the elastomeric coating is embedded with flock fibers and is made of a silicone. In certain aspects, a garment may include an elastomeric coating forming one or more channels and additionally may include one or more elastomeric coatings on the inside, outside, or both sides of the garment that are designed to be located in a portion of the garment where reduced stretch is desired.

In another aspect of the invention, a garment is provided that insulates the wearer from ambient conditions. In one embodiment, the garment includes a fabric and an elastomeric coating on at least a portion of the inside of the fabric of the garment, and at least one air pocket being formed by the elastomeric coating. An air pocket may be formed by a combination of fabric and elastomeric coating or coating alone. In one aspect, an air pocket is substantially bounded by the fabric on one side and the elastomeric coating on at least three sides. In certain embodiments, an elastomeric coating is designed to hold at least a portion of the fabric away from the skin of a wearer when the garment is worn.

Air pockets may also be created by an arrangement of fabric, elastomeric coating, and the skin of a wearer. In various configurations, the formed air pocket is designed to temporarily trap air therein and may be in the shape of a square, rectangle, circle, triangle, octagon, hexagon, or an irregular shape. The elastomeric coating may be embedded with flock fibers and may be made of silicone. In certain embodiments, a garment may include elastomeric coatings forming one or more air pockets and may also include one or more elastomeric coatings on the inside, outside, or both sides of the garment that are designed to be located in a portion of the garment where reduced stretch is desired.

Additional features and advantages of the invention will be set forth in the description which follows, and in part will be apparent from the description, or may be learned by practice of the invention. The objectives and other advantages of the invention will be realized and attained by the structure particularly pointed out in the written description and claims hereof as well as the appended drawings.

It is to be understood that both the foregoing general description and the following detailed description are exemplary and explanatory and are intended to provide further explanation of the invention as claimed.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The accompanying drawings, which are included to provide a further understanding of the invention and are incorporated in and constitute a part of this specification, illustrate embodiments of the invention and together with the description serve to explain the principles of the invention. In the drawings:

FIG. 1 depicts a silkscreen configuration for applying an elastomeric coating;

FIG. 2 depicts a garment with power zones;

FIG. 3 depicts fabric panels with various designs of elastomeric coating;

FIG. 4 depicts a garment with power zones having different forms and levels of controlled stretch;

FIG. 5 depicts a fabric panel with an elastomeric coating of varying thickness along the length of the coating;

FIG. 6 depicts a fabric panel with an elastomeric coating that is embedded with flock fibers;

FIG. 7 depicts a fabric panel with an elastomeric coating that forms channels between the fabric and a wearer's skin;

FIG. 8 depicts a garment with an elastomeric coating that forms channels;

FIG. 9 depicts fabric panels with elastomeric coatings that form channels of various shapes;

FIG. 10 depicts a garment with openings;

FIG. 11 depicts a garment with slits;

FIG. 12 depicts a fabric panel with an elastomeric coating that forms channels between the fabric and a wearer's skin where the elastomeric coating is embedded with flock fibers;

FIG. 13 depicts a garment with an elastomeric coating that forms channels on the inside of the garment as well as power zones on the outside of the garment;

FIG. 14 depicts a garment with openings and power zones on the outside of the garment;

FIG. 15 depicts a garment with slits and power zones on the outside of the garment;

FIG. 16 depicts a fabric panel with an elastomeric coating that forms air pockets;

FIG. 17 depicts fabric panels with elastomeric coatings forming air pockets of various geometries;

FIG. 18 depicts a garment with an elastomeric coating forming air pockets;

FIG. 19 depicts a fabric panel with an elastomeric coating forming air pockets where the elastomeric coating is embedded with flock fibers; and

FIG. 20 depicts a garment with an elastomeric coating forming air pockets on the inside of the garment as well as power zones on the outside of the garment.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

Reference will now be made in detail to the preferred embodiments of the present invention, examples of which are illustrated in the accompanying drawings.

FIG. 1 depicts a silkscreen configuration for applying an elastomeric coating to a garment. As shown in FIG. 1, a garment 100 may be placed beneath a silkscreen 101 on an area where an elastomeric coating is desired. An elastomeric coating substance 102 may be passed through screen apertures 104 of silkscreen 101 using squeegees 103, which move in the direction of arrow 105. In one embodiment, the elastomeric coating substance 102 is transferred to the garment 100 by capillary action in controlled and prescribed quantities to form an elastomeric coating 106 on the garment 100. The apertures 104 may be provided in a wide variety of patterns and squeegees 103 may be operated in a number of orientations and directions. The elastomeric coating 106 forms a three dimension (3D) structure on the garment 100. The thickness of the 3D structure may be determined by parameters including, but not limited to, the distance between the garment 100 and the silkscreen 101, the dimension of the apertures 104 of the silkscreen 101, and the viscosity of the elastomeric coating substance 102. Hereinafter, “thickness” refers to the dimension of the elastomeric coating from the elastomeric coating/fabric interface to the top of the elastomeric coating.

Alternatively, an elastomeric coating substance may be sprayed onto a garment with or without a silkscreen. The thickness of the coating may vary, and depends on the type and configuration of the garment (e.g., the type of fabric used and the size of the garment), as well as customer requirements. A stencil other than that of a silkscreen configuration may also be used to further enhance the process whereby a stencil with a particular pattern is placed on the garment and the elastomeric coating sprayed through the stencil onto the garment in order to achieve required patterns on the garment.

Alternatively, an elastomeric coating may also be applied to a garment by a process of extrusion, whereby an elastomeric coating substance is extruded onto the fabric of the garment in controlled and prescribed quantities, and may be applied in the form of pre-designed patterns with or without the use of stencils.

FIG. 2 depicts a garment according to an embodiment of the present invention. As illustrated, an elastomeric coating 202 is applied to a garment 201 in predetermined areas. The elastomeric coating increases the modulus of the fabric in areas where it is applied, thereby providing the fabric with controlled stretch or controlled support over a specific area. Thus, a single panel of fabric may be designed to possess varied stretch and support features at multiple locations as desired. The areas where the elastomeric coating is applied are hereinafter referred to generally as “power zones.” In FIG. 2, power zones 203 are located where the elastomeric coating 202 has been applied to the garment 201.

As shown in FIG. 3, different forms and levels of controlled stretch at power zones may be obtained through an elastomeric coating 302 applied to a fabric panel 301 in a variety of designs, patterns, and builds of various orientations. For example, circular, triangular, octagonal, hexagonal (honeycomb), and irregular shapes as well as various types, dimensions and combinations of dots, lines, or stripes may be used. Elastomeric coating 302 may form a single shape, dot, line, or stripe. Further, elastomeric coating 302 may form between 2 and 4 shapes, dots, lines, or stripes. Still further, elastomeric coating 302 may form a power zone may include between 5 and 10 shapes, dots, lines, or stripes. Yet still further, elastomeric coating 302 may form a pattern of shapes, dots, lines, or stripes.

FIG. 4 illustrates a garment 401 with elastomeric coating 402 of exemplary patterns to form power zones 403 where the sleeves include triangular patterns and the sides of the torso depict circular shapes.

As shown in FIG. 5, an elastomeric coating 502 of varying thickness may be applied to a fabric panel 501. Thus, different levels of controlled stretch may be achieved along the extent of an individual power zone. The thickness of an elastomeric coating may be varied by techniques including, but not limited to, varied diameter of apertures of a single silkscreen and varied squeegee pressures. The thickness may vary linearly along the entire extent of an individual power zone. The thickness may vary in a repeating pattern such that the thickness varies linearly over a portion of the power zone and the thickness profile over that portion is repeated successively along the extent of the power zone. Gaps where no elastomeric coating is applied may be located between successive portions. Further, the thickness may vary in a non-linear manner.

Power zones may be applied to the interior, exterior or both sides of a garment. An elastomeric coating including various designs, patterns, and builds in various orientations as mentioned above, such as to form honeycomb structures for example, may also contribute to the visual aesthetics of the garment, especially if the elastomeric coating is applied to the exterior of the garment. Enhancements such as, but not limited to, coloring of the elastomeric coating as well as the addition of pigments sold under the trademark HELICONE to the elastomeric coating may also be used to further improve the visual aesthetics of a garment.

As shown in FIG. 6, power zones of elastomeric coating 602 located on the interior of a fabric panel 601 may be embedded with flock fibers 603 to increase the aesthetics and the comfort to the wearer. A flocking process such as that according to U.S. patent application Ser. No. 12/149,504, which is incorporated by reference in its entirety, may be used.

Power zones may be used to control and restrict muscle movement in performance sports wear providing the user with enhanced protection and efficiency. Power zones could also support and control regions of bust, under bust and shoulder areas in intimate wear such as bras to improve comfort and performance. Power zones may also be used in many other applications, such as socks, stockings, swimwear, undergarments, and the like. For example, the present invention may be applied to any type of apparel wear which includes, but is not limited to, sportswear, performance wear, intimate wear, casual wear, and medical wear.

FIG. 7 depicts another embodiment of the present invention. In FIG. 7, elastomeric coating 702 is applied to an inner side of a fabric panel 701. The elastomeric coating 702 may be of sufficient build and density to create a 3D structure. In some instances, the 3D structure is well defined. The structure may be in the form of lines, walls, borders, dots, or various other designs that would elevate and hold the fabric panel 701 slightly above a wearer's skin 703. In certain aspects, the elastomeric coating 702 is applied to create a gap between the fabric panel 701 and the wearer's skin 703. Through the designed and controlled application of the elastomeric coating 702, air channels 704 may be formed. FIG. 8 depicts the interior of a garment 801 where elastomeric coating 802 is applied to a garment 801 to form air channels 803.

As shown in FIG. 9, elastomeric coatings 902 applied to fabric panels 901 may form air channels 903 of various geometries. Exemplary geometries include, but are not limited to, curved, straight, zigzag, diagonal, sinusoidal, parabolic, intersecting, and irregular patterns.

The air channels allow air to be moved along the garment and float parallel to the wearer's skin while also forming physical pathways that may allow excess perspiration from the wearer's skin to be removed by flowing out, thereby providing a cooling effect as well as improved moisture management properties. The flow of air in the air channels may also assist in the increase of the rate of evaporation of perspiration from the wearer's skin surface. Thus, due to absorption of heat from the wearer's body by the latent heat of evaporation of water in perspiration, an enhanced cooling effect to the wearer is achieved.

The cooling characteristics of a garment may be further enhanced by using a breathable fabric. Further, as shown in FIG. 10, a garment 1001 may include air capture and routing mechanisms illustrated by openings 1002, 1003 similar to air vents which may be incorporated at shoulder seams, chest areas, lower torso areas, stomach areas, back areas, or any other suitable location of the garment 1001 to further aid the flow of air through the air channels for the increased cooling effect. The openings 1002, 1003 may be arranged such that air channels are able to communicate with ambient air by way of the opening 1002 at one end of the channel and by way of the opening 1003 at the other end of the channel. Furthermore, as shown in FIG. 11, a garment 1101 may include slits 1102 in the fabric of the garment 1101. The slits 1102 may be incised using a cutting blade or any other recognized means of cutting such as ultrasonic cutting, laser cutting, plasma cutting, dye cutting or roller cutting, to further aid the flow of air through the air channels.

As shown in FIG. 12, an elastomeric coating 1202 located on an inner side of a fabric panel 1201 may be embedded with flock fibers 1203 to increase the aesthetics and the comfort to the wearer. A flocking process as described above may be utilized.

According to the principles of the invention, these embodiments may be applied to any type of apparel wear which include but are not limited to sportswear, performance wear, intimate wear, casual wear, and medical wear.

In certain aspects, a garment may include an elastomeric coating applied to an inner side of a fabric panel to form one or more channels and other additional elastomeric coatings forming power zones. For example, FIG. 13 shows a garment 1301 with an elastomeric coating 1302 applied to the inside of the garment 1301 and an elastomeric coating 1304 applied to the outside of the garment 1301. Elastomeric coating 1302 may be applied in such a way as to form one or more channels 1303. Elastomeric coating 1304 may be applied to form power zones 1305. Thus, a single garment with controlled stretch and support that also aids in the cooling of the wearer may be provided. The power zones can be applied to the inside, outside, or inside and outside of the garment with any geometry and structure as described herein according to the principles of the invention. If the power zone is located on the inside of the garment, the elastomeric coating forming the power zone may be embedded with flock fibers. Further examples are shown in FIG. 14 and FIG. 15. As illustrated in FIG. 14, a garment 1401 with channels on the inside of the garment 1401 and openings 1402 and 1403 is further provided with power zones 1404 on the outside of the garment 1401. As depicted in FIG. 15, a garment 1501 with channels (not shown) on the inside of the garment 1501 connected to slits 1502 is further provided with power zones 1503 on the outside of the garment 1501.

FIG. 16 depicts another embodiment of the present invention. FIG. 16 illustrates an elastomeric coating 1602 that has been applied to a fabric panel 1601. The elastomeric coating 1602 may be of sufficient build and density to create multiple 3D structures thereby creating air pockets 1603. In certain embodiments, the 3D structures are well defined. The air pockets 1603 shown in FIG. 16 are hexagons; however, various geometries including, but not limited to, squares, rectangles, circles, triangles, octagons, hexagons (honeycombs), and irregular shapes, or combinations thereof may be used. Any shape that is useful to create a structure that confines air therein, such as a structure substantially bounded on at least three sides, may be used. As used herein, a side of a structure refers to a straight segment of the structure. A structure with a curved segment includes infinite sides. FIG. 17 depicts exemplary geometries of air pockets 1702 on fabric panels 1701. FIG. 18 depicts the interior of a garment of this embodiment where elastomeric coating 1802 is applied to a garment 1801 to form air pockets 1803.

When a garment according to this embodiment of the invention is worn, an air pocket may be designed and constructed to temporarily trap air between the garment and the wearer's skin. Similarly, when a wearer wears a tight fitting article of clothing under the garment according to this embodiment, an air pocket may be designed and constructed to temporarily trap air between the garment and the tight fitting article of clothing. Because air has high insulating properties, in certain aspects the invention provides an insulating layer of air between the wearer's skin or tight fitting article of clothing and the garment which may significantly reduce heat loss by conduction and convection, thus allowing the wearer of the garment to retain heat.

Further, according to the invention the movement of air inside the garment may be minimized which may reduce passive convection which draws cool air into the garment and displaces the warm light air already existent in the garment. Thus, heat loss is further reduced as heat is further retained. The heat retention feature may be further enhanced by a garment including non-breathable fabric which may further minimize the movement of air in the garment.

As shown in FIG. 19, an elastomeric coating 1902 located on an inner side of a fabric panel 1901 may be embedded with flock fibers 1904 to increase the aesthetics and the comfort to the wearer. The elastomeric coating forming a boundary of the air pockets or, in some cases, inside the air pockets may be embedded with flock fibers. A flocking process as described above, in accordance with the methods of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 12/149,504, which is incorporated by reference in its entirety, may be employed.

According to the principles of the invention, these embodiments may be applied to any type of apparel wear which include but are not limited to sportswear, performance wear, intimate wear, casual wear, and medical wear.

In certain aspects, the garment may include an elastomeric coating applied to an inner side of a fabric panel to form one or more air pockets and an elastomeric coating forming power zones. For example, FIG. 20 shows a garment 2001 with elastomeric coating 2002 forming air pockets 2003 on the inside of the garment 2001 and elastomeric coating 2004 forming power zones 2005 on the outside of the garment 2001. Thus, a single garment with controlled stretch and support that aids in the insulation of the wearer may be provided. The power zones may be provided on the inside, outside, or inside and outside of the garment with any geometry and build according to the invention. If power zones are provided on the inside of the garment, the elastomeric coating forming the power zones may be imbedded with flock fibers.

The elastomeric coating described above in the various embodiments of the present invention may be a silicone.

It will be apparent to those skilled in the art that various modifications and variations can be made in the garment with elastomeric coating of the present invention without departing from the spirit or scope of the invention. Thus, it is intended that the present invention cover the modifications and variations of this invention provided they come within the scope of the appended claims and their equivalents.