Title:
Insulating Clothing Systems and Methods of Use
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An insulating clothing system includes an article of clothing having a front portion and at least one pocket in the front portion. The pocket is configured to at least partially cover at least one intimate part of a user. At least one insulating insert including at least one layer of thermal insulation material is removably positioned in the pocket and configured to passively provide thermal insulation to the intimate part. The at least one insulating insert can provide an R-value of greater than about 3.5.



Inventors:
Marshall, Vicky (Pinedale, WY, US)
Trotter, Virginia Ann (Casper, WY, US)
Application Number:
14/446737
Publication Date:
02/12/2015
Filing Date:
07/30/2014
Assignee:
MARSHALL VICKY
TROTTER VIRGINIA ANN
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
2/69, 2/67
International Classes:
A41C3/12; A41C3/00
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20150223524UNDERGARMENTAugust, 2015Brady
20040224606Cup structure for brasNovember, 2004Lin
20160366964FASTENER WITH PROTECTIVE COVERDecember, 2016Eddey et al.
20060121826BrasserieJune, 2006Nazzaro
20140106646Attachable Brassier PocketApril, 2014Delgado
20070281586Braless top garment with integral breast padsDecember, 2007Pritchard
20080268748PRODUCTION OF A BRASSIERE AND BRASSIERE PRODUCED THEREBYOctober, 2008Huang et al.
20160366951BRA CUP WITH IMPROVED FUNCTIONALITYDecember, 2016Pisani
20160360800GARMENT PROVIDED WITH CUP SECTIONSDecember, 2016Yuasa et al.
20140004771STRAPLESS BRA FOR SUSPENDING BREASTS OF WOMENJanuary, 2014Olumide
20070015438Breast Pad Assembly Containing A Skin Benefit IngredientJanuary, 2007Lange et al.



Primary Examiner:
SZAFRAN, BRIEANNA TARAH LARELL
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Workman Nydegger (Salt Lake City, UT, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. An insulating clothing system comprising: an article of clothing including a front portion and at least one pocket in said front portion, said at least one pocket configured to at least partially cover at least one intimate part of a user; and at least one insulating insert removably positionable in said at least one pocket, said at least one insulating insert configured to passively provide thermal insulation to the intimate part and including at least one layer of thermal insulation material, wherein said at least one insulating insert exhibits an R-value greater than about 3.5.

2. The system of claim 1, wherein said intimate part comprises a breast, and wherein said at least one insulating insert includes a wing portion configured to extend around at least a portion of the outside of the breast.

3. The system of claim 1, wherein said at least one insulating insert comprises at least one layer of synthetic fiber thermal insulation material secured within a cover made from a soft woven fabric.

4. The system of claim 1, wherein said cover is substantially wind-resistant.

5. The system of claim 1, wherein said at least one insulating insert comprises: a down fill material; an inner cover containing said down fill material; at least one layer of synthetic fiber thermal insulation material situated on an outer surface of said inner cover; and an outer cover containing said inner cover and said at least one layer of synthetic fiber thermal insulation material, said outer covering defining at least one exterior layer of said at least one insulating insert.

6. The system of claim 5, wherein said inner cover is configured to be positioned between the skin surface of the user and said at least one layer of synthetic fiber thermal insulation material.

7. The system of claim 5, wherein said outer cover includes a merino wool material or a flannel material.

8. The system of claim 1, wherein said at least one insulating insert comprises a synthetic fiber thermal insulation material and down fill.

9. The system of claim 1, wherein said insulating insert is configured to at least in part conform to the contour of the intimate part.

10. The system of claim 1, wherein said at least one insulating insert exhibits an R-value greater than about 5.

11. The system of claim 1, wherein said article of clothing comprises a bra.

12. The system of claim 1, wherein said article of clothing comprises a female swimsuit or a t-shirt.

13. The system of claim 1, further comprising: at least one pocket opening in an outer layer of said article of clothing that is in communication with said at least one pocket; and at least one pocket closure system for selectively opening and closing said at least one pocket opening.

14. An insulating bra system comprising: a bra including: a front portion configured to provide support to breasts of a user, said front portion including at least one pocket concealed within said front portion; a back portion configured to extend across the back of the user; side portions extending between said front portion and said back portion and configured to extend under the arms of the user, and at least one insulating insert removably positionable within said at least one pocket of said bra, said at least one insulating insert including a cover and at least one thermal insulation material and configured to substantially shield and passively provide thermal insulation to the breasts of the user, wherein said at least one insulating insert positioned within said at least one pocket increase a Clo value of said bra by greater than about 10%.

15. The bra system of claim 14, wherein said cover includes: a first layer; a second layer spaced from said first layer; and a receiving space defined between said first layer and said second layer, wherein said receiving space includes said at least one thermal insulation material comprising at least one of natural down or synthetic down material.

16. The bra system of claim 15, wherein at least one or said first layer or said second layer include synthetic fiber thermal insulation.

17. The bra system of claim 14, wherein said at least one insulating insert includes a third layer of a wind-resistant material configured to at least prevent wind from penetrating said at least one insulating insert.

18. The bra system of claim 14, wherein at least one insulating insert includes one or more thermally reflective materials configured to reduce the amount of heat the user loses as thermal radiation.

19. A method of thermally insulating a user's breasts, the method comprising: positioning a bra on the upper torso of the user, wherein the bra includes a front portion having a pair of pockets positioned over the user's breast; and inserting an insulating insert in each of said pockets to passively provide thermal insulation to the user's breast, wherein each insulating insert includes at least one layer of thermal insulation material secured within an outer cover and exhibits an R-value greater than about 4.

20. The method of claim 19, wherein said insulating insert includes a layer of down fill material.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims the benefit of, and priority to, U.S. provisional patent application Ser. No. 61/862,859, entitled “INSULATING BRAS, BRA SYSTEMS, AND METHODS OF USE,” and filed on Aug. 6, 2013, which is hereby incorporated herein in its entirety by this reference.

BACKGROUND

A common complaint of women with breast implants is that the implants tend to be cooler than the rest of the body. This is because breast implants do not have a blood supply, are filled with saline or silicone, and essentially sit outside the chest cavity just beneath the skin or beneath the skin and a thin muscle layer. Cold breast implants can cause a number of problems for a woman. For example, in cooler or cold weather, cold implants can cause other portions of the woman's body to drop in temperature or to feel cold or chilled. This can be slightly uncomfortable to very painful for a woman. Moreover, in cooler or cold temperatures, the tissues around the implants can tighten changing the shape of the breast, or making the breast look unnatural. Women with natural breasts are also known to experience sensitivity and/or discomfort when their breasts get too cold.

Some women have attempted to keep their breasts warm using conventional bras. However, conventional bras are generally designed for shaping, supporting the breasts, and/or style, not warmth. Others have attempted to keep their breasts warm by wearing excess layers of clothing or winter clothing. But, this can be bulky, inconvenient, impractical, and even ineffective.

Women are not alone in struggling to keep their intimate parts comfortably warm. For example, men's undergarments may provide support and protect male genitalia from outer clothing. However, in cold weather, conventional men's undergarments are known to provide inadequate thermal coverage in the crotch region, which, in turn, can result in discomfort or even frostbite.

Thus, there remains a need for clothing that can better insulate one or more intimate parts of a user.

SUMMARY

One or more embodiments of the present invention solve one or more of the foregoing or other problems in the art with insulating clothing systems that conveniently and discretely help to thermally insulate a user's intimate parts. In particular, one or more embodiments include an article of clothing having a front portion and at least one pocket in the front portion. The pocket is configured to at least partially cover at least one intimate part of a user. At least one insulating insert including at least one layer of thermal insulation material is removably positionable in the pocket and configured to passively provide thermal insulation to the intimate part. The at least one insulating insert can exhibit an R-value of greater than about 3.5.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

To further clarify the above and other advantages and features of the present disclosure, a more particular description of the disclosure will be rendered by reference to specific embodiments thereof which are illustrated in the appended drawings. It is appreciated that these drawings depict only typical embodiments of the disclosure and are therefore not to be considered limiting of its scope, nor are the drawings necessarily drawn to scale. The disclosure will be described and explained with additional specificity and detail through the use of the accompanying drawings in which:

FIG. 1 is a front environmental view of an insulating bra system according to an embodiment;

FIG. 2 is another front environmental view of the bra system shown in FIG. 1 with a pocket open showing an insulating insert according to an embodiment;

FIG. 3 is a side view of an insulating insert according to an embodiment;

FIG. 4 is a cross-sectional view of the insulating insert shown in FIG. 3 taken along section line 4-4;

FIG. 5 is a cross-sectional view of an insulating insert according to another embodiment;

FIG. 6 is a cross-sectional view of an insulating insert according to another embodiment;

FIG. 7 is front view of an insulating bra system according to an embodiment;

FIG. 8 is a back view of the bra system shown in FIG. 7;

FIG. 9 a front view of the bra shown in FIG. 7 in an open position;

FIG. 10 is a partial front view of the bra system shown in FIG. 7 showing a pocket open;

FIG. 11 is front view of the bra system shown in FIG. 7 with the insulating inserts removed for ease of reference;

FIG. 12 is a partial front view of a bra system showing a pocket open according to another embodiment;

FIG. 13 is a partial front view of a bra system showing a pocket open according to another embodiment;

FIG. 14 is an exploded front view of an insulating bra system according to another embodiment;

FIG. 15 is a partial exploded back view of an insulating bra system according to another embodiment;

FIG. 16 a schematic view of an insulating bra system according to another embodiment.

FIG. 17 is an isometric view of an insulating underwear system according to an embodiment;

FIG. 18 is a front environmental view of an insulating swimsuit system according to an embodiment;

FIG. 19 is a front view of the inside of the insulating swimsuit system shown in FIG. 18;

FIG. 20 is a front environmental view of an insulating t-shirt system according to an embodiment; and

FIG. 21 is a front view of the inside of the insulating t-shirt system shown in FIG. 21.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

The present disclosure is directed toward exemplary embodiments of an insulating clothing system that conveniently and discretely help to thermally insulate one or more intimate parts of a user.

For further ease of understanding the exemplary embodiments of an insulating clothing system as disclosed herein, a description of a few terms is necessary. As used herein, the term “intimate part” refers to a place on the human body which is customarily kept covered by clothing in public venues and conventional settings, as a matter of decency. Intimate parts may include, for example, female breasts, the vagina, the penis, the buttocks, and the like. As used herein, the term “thermal conductivity” refers to a measure of the ability of a material to transfer heat. As used herein the term “thermal resistance” is a measure of a material's resistance to heat flow. Mathematically thermal resistance is the thickness of the material divided by the thermal conductivity of the material. The thermal resistance of a material can be of great importance when determining the applicability of a material in cold weather conditions. A low thermal conductivity means the fabric material has a high resistance to heat flow. The R-value of a material describes its thermal resistance (e.g., how much the material inhibits the transfer of heat). The higher the R-value, the more effective the level of insulation. R-values as used herein are in units of ft2·° F.·h/Btu.

As used herein the term “Clo” refers to a measure of the thermal resistance value of clothing, especially at is relates to relative human comfort within that clothing at a given set of conditions. The use of the unit Clo implicitly means that it relates to the whole body and thus includes heat transfer by exposed body parts. The Clo unit is defined as the amount of clothing required by a resting subject to be comfortable at a room temperature of 70 degrees Fahrenheit with air movement of 0.1 m/s and humidity less than 50%. The higher the Clo value the greater the thermal resistance (i.e., warmth). A value of 0 Clo corresponds to a naked person. A Clo value of about 0.01 to 0.03 corresponds to a person wearing a standard bra. A value of 1 Clo corresponds to a person wearing a typical business suit (shirt, undershirt, trousers, and suit jacket). The highest practical Clo value of 4 is that of Eskimo clothing (fur pants, coat, hood, gloves, etc.). One Clo equals 0.155 m2K/W. As used herein, the term “temperature rating” refers to the lowest acceptable air temperature at which the intimate part of an average person would be comfortable when wearing a certain clothing article at a given set of specific conditions.

The exemplary embodiments of an insulating clothing system can be configured in various configurations of bras, underwear, swimsuits, shirts, dresses, compression clothing, pants, or other appropriate clothing. For example, exemplary embodiments of an insulating clothing system can comprise an insulating bra system 100 that facilitates thermal insulation of a woman's breasts as shown in FIGS. 1 and 2. The bra system 100 includes a bra 102 with a front portion 104 adapted to be comfortably worn by a user. The front portion 104 can include pockets 106 formed therein for selectively retaining insulating inserts 108. The insulating inserts 108 can be inserted into and/or removed from the one or more pockets 106 via pocket openings 110 situated on the bra 102.

Referring now to FIGS. 3 and 4, the insulating inserts 108 can include one or more thermal insulation materials 112 situated within a cover 114 that enhance protection of the user's breasts from the cold and/or elements. The cover 114 can include a soft woven fabric or a flannel-like material including wool, cotton, and/or synthetic fiber. The cover 114 can define top and bottom layers with a receiving space 116 formed between the top and bottom layers.

The one or more thermal insulation materials 112 can comprise at least one layer of synthetic fiber thermal insulation secured inside of the receiving space 116. The at least one layer of synthetic fiber thermal insulation can be secured inside of the receiving space 116 via stitching. The at least one layer of synthetic fiber thermal insulation can be secured inside of the receiving space 116 via snaps, hooks, adhesives, magnets, hook-and-loop type systems, or any other suitable securement system. The synthetic fiber thermal insulation can include microfiber thermal insulation material, THINSULTE®, PRIMALOFT®, POLARGUARD® double-sided polyester fleece, or other suitable materials.

As seen, the insulating insert 108 may exhibit a thickness T. The thickness T may define in part the level of thermal insulation provided by the insulating insert 108. For instance, an insulating insert 108 that is thicker than another insulating insert 108 having the same or similar construction may provide a higher level of thermal insulation. The thickness T may be greater than about a 0.05 inches, about 0.1 inches, about 0.2 inches, about 0.4 inches, about 0.6 inches, or about 0.8 inches. The thickness T may be between about 0.05 inches and about 1 inch, about 0.1 inches and about 0.8 inches, or about 0.2 inches and about 0.6 inches. The insert 108 may exhibit a greater or lesser thickness.

The thickness T may be constant or variable. For instance, a portion of the insulating insert 108 positionable over the tip of the user's breast may exhibit a thickness T that is greater than the thickness T of a portion of the insert 108 positionable nearer the user's rib area. This has the effect of providing a greater level of insulation at the tip of the breast, where the temperature decrease in the breast may tend to be greater.

The construction of the insulating insert 108 advantageously limits heat conduction and/or convection through the insulating insert 108. For example, conventional bras often include open-cell foam or similar material inserts or filling in the breast area which are relatively air and/or vapor permeable, providing less thermal coverage and little if any resistance to heat flow. In addition, when such foam becomes wet, either from perspiration or other sources, it stays wet, leaving the breast moist. Other conventional bras often include silicone or gel shaping inserts. Such inserts are known to be relatively perceptible to temperature change and tend to store heat and cold. Thus, when exposed to colder temperatures, the inserts will become and remain colder longer. Consequently, such bras inadequately protect the breasts from colder temperatures, causing discomfort and/or injury to the user.

By limiting heat conduction and/or convection through the inserts 108, the insulating inserts 108 of the bra system 100 reduce the transfer or heat between the breasts and the external or surrounding environment. This has the effect of keeping the temperature of the breasts closer to the user's body temperature, which, in turn, reduces user discomfort and/or sensitivity.

Under the same or similar conditions, the insulating inserts 108 in the bra 102 can maintain the temperature of the user's breast more than about 1 degree, about 2 degrees, about 3 degrees, or about 4 degrees warmer than foam shaping inserts in the bra 102. The insulating inserts 108 can be at least about 30%, about 40%, about 50%, about 60%, or about 100% warmer than standard silicone or foam bra shaping inserts. For instance, each inch of thickness of a silicone or foam bra shaping insert typically provides an R-value less than about 3. For an inch of thickness, the insulating insert 108 can provide an R-value of greater than about 3.5, about 4, about 4.5, about 4.7, about 5, about 6, about 6.5, or about 7. For an inch of thickness, the insulating insert 108 can provide an R-value of between about 3.2 and about 7, about 3.5 and about 6.5, or about 4.5 and about 6. The insulating insert 108 having a thickness T can provide an R-value of greater than about 3.5, about 4, about 4.5, about 4.7, about 5, about 6, about 6.5, or about 7. The insulating insert 108 having a thickness T can provide an R-value of between about 3.2 and about 7, about 3.5 and about 6.5, or about 4.5 and about 6. The insulating insert 108 can provide higher or lower R-values.

In an embodiment, the one or more thermal insulation materials 112 of the insulating insert 108 can exhibit relatively higher R-values. For example, to obtain a given level of heat flow, insulating inserts 108 with higher R-values can be made thinner. This can allow the insulating inserts 108 to have a thinner construction, making the insulating inserts 108 more readily concealable within the bra 102. The one or more thermal insulation materials 112 and/or the cover member 114 can include a plurality of layers that in combination increase the average R-value of the insulating inserts 108.

The insulating bra system 100 can be at least about 30%, about 40%, about 50%, about 60%, or about 100% warmer than a standard bra. A standard bra has a Clo value of between about 0.01 and about 0.03. The bra system 100 can provide a Clo value of at least about 0.045 Clo, about 0.055 Clo, about 0.06, about 0.065, about 0.07 Clo, about 0.075 Clo, about 0.08 Clo, about 0.085 Clo, or about 0.1 Clo. The bra system 100 can provide a Clo value of between about 0.045 Clo and about 0.2 clo, about 0.05 Clo and about 0.015 Clo, about 0.055 and about 0.08 Clo, or about 0.06 Clo and about 0.075 Clo. The bra system 100 can be configured to substantially maintain its thermal properties even when wet. In other embodiments, the bra system 100 can provide higher or lower Clo values.

One or more of the insulating inserts 108 inserted in the pockets 106 can increase a Clo value of the bra 102 by at least about 5%, about 10%, 15%, about 25%, about 30%, about 35%, about 40%, about 45%, about 50%, about 60%, or about 100%. One or more of the insulating inserts 108 inserted in the pockets 106 can increase the Clo value of the bra 102 between about 5% and about 100%, about 10% and about 90%, or about 30% and about 80%. For instance, in an embodiment, the insulating inserts 108 inserted in the pockets 106 can increase the Clo value of the bra 102 from about 0.04 to about 0.045, from about 0.05 to about 0.06, or less or more.

The insulating inserts 108 can be temperature rated. For instance, an insulating insert 108 may be temperature rated down to about −20 degrees Fahrenheit, about −10 degrees Fahrenheit, about 0 degrees Fahrenheit, about 10 degrees Fahrenheit, about 20 degrees Fahrenheit, about 40 degrees Fahrenheit, or about 60 degrees Fahrenheit. The insulating insert 108 can be temperature rated between about −20 degrees Fahrenheit and about 60 degrees Fahrenheit, about −10 degrees Fahrenheit and about 50 degrees Fahrenheit, about 0 degrees Fahrenheit and about 40 degrees Fahrenheit, or about 10 degrees Fahrenheit and about 30 degrees Fahrenheit. The insulating inserts 108 can exhibit higher or lower temperature ratings.

One or more different insulating inserts 108 may exhibit different levels of thermal resistance. This allows the user to select one or more of the insulating inserts 108 based on different types of activities, different seasons, and/or weather conditions. For instance, if the user is planning on wearing the bra 102 snowmobiling, the user may select and insert insulating inserts 108 in the bra 102 that exhibit a higher R-value or Clo value.

The insulating inserts 108 can also vary in configuration such that a user can customize the bra 102 as desired. For example, the bra 102 may include an insulating insert 108 for use in the rain and another insulating insert 108 for use in the winter or freezing temperatures. Accordingly, a user may insert the insulating inserts 108 into the bra 102 depending on the weather conditions. In other embodiments, if an insulating insert 108 is damaged or worn, the user may simply replace it without having to purchase a whole new bra 102. In the event something is spilled on the insulating insert 108, the insulating insert 108 may be removed from the bra 102 for washing without having to wash the entire bra 102, thereby helping to preserve the shape and/or volume of the bra 102. Moreover, in other embodiments, the user may customize the bra 102 based on different activities of the user. For example, if the user is going to play sports or go hiking, the user may insert an insulating insert 108 into the bra 102 that includes a moisture-wicking material.

Moreover, one or more of the insulating inserts 108 themselves may be customizable. For example, the bra 102 may exhibit a standard and/or generic configuration and the insulating inserts 108 may be custom to the user. For example, the insulating inserts 108 may include a shape, size, thermal insulation value, or any other characteristic that is custom to a specific user. Accordingly, the bra 102 may provide a user with an individual fit based on the preferences of the user.

The insulating inserts 108 can advantageously provide passive thermal insulation to the user's breast. Particularly, the insulating inserts 108 can provide thermal insulation to the user's breast without emitting heat or the need of an external power source or an external heat source. Such passive thermal insulation eliminates the risk of injuring or burning the user that can be present when heating elements or heated gel inserts are inserted in a bra. This can be especially important for a user who has had breast reconstruction after a mastectomy, leaving the user with virtually no feeling in the user's breast. This also advantageously provides more convenience and discretion to the user by minimizing the need to manipulate the inserts 108.

It should be appreciated that many variations of the insulating inserts 108 having different constructions can be used for thermally insulating the breasts. Although such variations may differ in form, they perform substantially similar functions. For instance, while the insulating insert 108 is shown including three layers, in other embodiments, the insulating insert may include one, two, four, six, or any other suitable number of layers of protection in order to achieve the desired amount of thermal insulation.

While the one or more thermal insulation materials 112 is described comprising at least one layer of synthetic fiber thermal insulation, the one or more thermal insulation materials 112 can comprise wool, merino wool, synthetic fiber thermal insulation, down, feathers, high density polyester, poly fill, wind-resistant materials, combinations thereof, or any other suitable material. The cover 114 can include thermal insulation material, waterproof material, wicking material, GORE-TEX@, combinations thereof, or any other suitable materials.

The one or more thermal insulation materials 112 and/or the cover 114 can include one or more materials that are configured to block or limit air flow. For instance, the cover 114 can include wind resistant material, such as, but not limited to, double weave nylon, spandex, wind resistant fleece, neoprene, packcloth, rip stop, or any other suitable wind-resistant material. The thermal insulation materials 112 can include high loft fibers that trap air, retaining body heat. This allows the insulating inserts 108 to retain body heat through lowering convective heat loss. The thermal insulation materials 112 can comprise loose materials contained within the receiving space 116. The thermal insulation materials 112 can comprise compressed materials contained with the receiving space 116.

In other embodiments, the insulating inserts can be configured to reduce the amount of heat a user loses as thermal radiation. For instance, the one or more thermal insulation materials 112 can include one or more thermally reflective materials that do not efficiently radiate heat from the chest area of the user. In user, as the user's body emits electromagnetic waves towards her surroundings, the insulating insert 108 may trap such energy between the insulating inserts 108 and the user's breasts, which, in turn, insulates or warms the breasts.

FIG. 5 illustrates an insulating insert 108A according to another embodiment. As seen, the insulating insert 108A can include a layer of down 112A situated and secured inside of an inner cover 118 comprising a soft woven fabric. The inner cover 118, containing the down 112A, along with a layer 112B of synthetic fiber thermal insulation are situated and secured within the receiving space 116A of an outer cover 114A of soft woven fabric. The layer of down 112A can be positionable nearer the user's skin surface with the layer 112B of synthetic fiber thermal insulation next to the down 112A opposite the skin surface. This has the effect of creating a wind barrier and trapping body heat between the skin surface and layer 112B, which, in turn, improves thermal insulation of the breasts. It will be appreciated that in other embodiments the layer 112B of synthetic fiber thermal insulation can be positionable nearer the user's skin surface than the layer of down 112A.

The cover of the insulating inserts can be omitted. For example, FIG. 6 illustrates an insulating insert 108B comprising a first layer 112C and a second layer 112D of thermal insulation material. This can allow the insulating insert 108B to have a more low-profile construction.

The construction of the bra 102 will now be described in more detail in relation to FIGS. 7-11. Referring now to FIGS. 7 and 8, the bra 102 can include the front portion 104, a back portion 120, side portion 122, and a pair of shoulder straps 124. The front portion 104 can be configured to support the breasts of the user. Optionally, the front portion 104 may include a pair of cup portions configured to at least partially enclose and support the breasts. The cup portions may at least in part be held in place by the straps 124.

The back portion 120 can be configured to extend across the back of the user. The back portion 120 can include an adjustment system such that the bra 102 can be adjusted to the size of the torso of the user.

The side portions 122 can extend between the front portion 104 and the back portion 120 and can be configured to extend under the arms of the user. The side portions 122 can be integral to the front portion 104 and/or the back portion 120. The side portions 122 can be separate from the front portion 104 and/or the back portion 120.

The shoulder straps 124 can be connected between the front portion 104 and the back portion 120 and configured to extend across the shoulders of the user. Optionally, the shoulder straps 124 can include an adjustment system such as buckles to adjust the length of the shoulder straps, which, in turn, can adjust the support provided to the breasts. In other embodiments, the shoulder straps 124 can be omitted. For instance, the bra 102 may be a strapless bra.

The bra 102 can include a top opening 126 for placement of the bra 102 over the head and over the shoulders of the user. The top opening 126 can include a lower cut configuration such that the bra 102 can be more discretely concealed under a user's outer clothing. Arm openings 128 can be located in both side portions 122 for insertion of the arms therethrough. Portions of the bra 102 between the top opening 126 and the arm openings 128 can form the shoulder straps 124.

In some embodiments, a band member 130 is attached to a bottom portion of the bra 102 so that the band member 130 extends around the user, below the breast line in contact with the user's torso. The band member 130 can provide contact to the user's body over a larger torso area, which, in turn, can at least in part compressively stabilize the breasts in relation to the torso.

The bra 102 can include a bra closure system 132 to open and close a front opening in the bra 102. The bra closure system 132 can comprise a zipper. The front opening in the bra 102 can be closed by bringing together and securing edges of the two ends of the front portion 104 with the bra closure system as shown in FIG. 7. Closure of the bra closure system 132 may be achieved by movement of the zipper from top to bottom or from bottom to top. Closure from top to bottom motion of the zipper can enable smoother compression of the breasts downward toward the user's torso.

To open the front opening of the bra 102, the zipper can be moved in the opposite direction such that the edges of the two ends of the front portion 104 detach from one another as shown in FIG. 9. With the front opening open, putting on and taking off the bra 102 may be easier and more convenient. It will be appreciated that while the bra closure system 132 is described comprising a zipper, other closure systems are possible. For instance, the bra closure system 132 can include a hook-and-loop type system, snaps, clips, hooks, magnets, combinations thereof, or any other suitable closure system. It will further be appreciated that the bra closure system 132 may be situated in any suitable location on the bra 102 such as, but not limited to, one or more of the side portions 122, the back portion 120, or the like. In other embodiments, the bra 102 may not include a front opening and the closure system may be omitted.

Referring to FIGS. 7 and 9, the bra 102 can include an outer layer 134 and a liner 136. The outer layer 134 can include a cotton jersey knit material. The outer layer 134 can include a spandex material or double weave nylon. The outer layer 134 can include a synthetic fabric, microfiber, a multi stretch fabric, nylon, polyester, satin, elastic materials, non-elastic materials, compressible materials, wool, combinations thereof, or any other suitable material.

The liner can be in contact with the skin of the user and can be made from a soft flexible material such as merino wool mix. The liner 136 can include a smooth soft polymeric material. This can help absorb moisture. The liner 136 can include artificial fiber, flannel, fleece, cotton, wicking material, or any other suitable material. The liner 136 can extend along substantially the entire inside of the outer layer 134. The liner 136 can extend along less than the entire inside of the outer layer 134. Optionally, the liner 136 may be omitted.

It will be appreciated that while the bra 102 is described including the outer layer 134 and the liner 136, in other embodiments the bra 102 may include one, three, four, or any other suitable number of layers. For instance, the bra 102 may include an intermediate layer between the liner 136 and the outer layer 134. This may provide additional material stability to the bra 102. An additional layer can also provide additional modesty and/or moisture management capabilities to the bra 102.

As seen in FIG. 10, the pockets 106 can be situated on the front portion 104 and are adapted to receive and support therein the insulating inserts 108. The pockets 106 can be formed in any suitable manner. The pockets 106 can be at least in part defined between the outer layer 134 and the liner 136. Alternatively, the pockets 106 can comprise separate pockets situated on the outer layer 134 or the liner 136 of the bra 102. The pockets 106 can be separate from one another. For instance, one or more seams may be sewn into the bra 102 to separate the pockets 106 from one another. The pockets 106 can be configured as a continuous pocket extending around the user. The bra 102 can include two, three, four, or any other suitable number of pockets 106. The pockets 106 can be situated as any suitable location on the bra 102. The pockets 106 can be located on the front portion 104, the side portions 122, and/or the back portion 120. Alternatively, the pockets 106 can be lined with one or more materials to further insulate the user's breast and/or to provide a smoother appearing exterior surface of the bra 102. The pockets 106 can be substantially hidden from a casual viewer.

The pockets 106 can exhibit a shape generally corresponding to the left and/or right part of the front portion 104 extending between the top opening 126, the arm openings 128, and the band member 130. The pockets 106 can be shaped to generally correspond to the shape of a portion of the user's breasts. The pockets 106 can be shaped to generally correspond to the shape of the insulating inserts 108. The pockets 106 can exhibit a generally rectangular shape, a generally trapezoidal shape, a generally oval shape, or any other suitable shape. Optionally, the pockets 106 can be omitted. For instance, the insulating inserts 108 can be attached or removably attached to the liner 136 of the bra 102.

The insulating inserts 108 are inserted and removed from the pockets 106 via the pocket openings 110. The pocket openings 110 can comprise slits in the outer layer 134 that are in communication with the pockets 106. The slits can extend between about the band member 130 and about the upper edge region of the front portion 104 at or near the bra closure system 132. This advantageously allows the user to exchange or remove the inserts 108 from the pockets 106 without having to remove or lift the bra 102 away from the user's body, substantially increasing accessibility and/or discreteness. It will be appreciated that while the pocket openings 110 are shown comprising slits, in other embodiments, the pocket openings 110 can comprise cut-outs, slots, flaps, combinations thereof, or any other suitable type of opening.

Referring still to FIG. 10, the bra 102 can include a pocket closure system 138 for selectively opening and closing the pocket openings 110. The pocket closure system 138 can comprise a hook-and-loop type system (e.g., VELCRO®) situated at or near each pocket opening 110. The hook-and-loop type system can include a first portion 138A attached to an interior surface of the outer layer 134 and a second portion 138B attached to an opposing surface of the liner 136. This arrangement allows the pocket closure system 138 to be substantially hidden or concealed, which, in turn, improves the aesthetic appearance of the bra 102 with or without outer clothing.

In use, the user can selectively close the pocket openings 110 by attaching the first portion of the pocket closure system 138 to the second portion of the pocket closure system 138. To open the pocket openings 110, the first and second portions of the pocket closure system 138 can be detachably separated, providing access to the pockets 106. While the pocket closure system 138 is described as a hook-and-loop type system, in other embodiments, the pocket closure system 138 can comprise hooks, snaps, magnets, flaps, or any other suitable system. Optionally, the pocket closure system 138 can be omitted. For instance, the insulating inserts 108 can be retained inside of pockets 106 by the walls of the pockets 106.

The insulating inserts 108 can be provided in the pockets 106 in any suitable manner. One of the insulating inserts 108 may be disposed in each of the pockets 106. One insulating insert 108 can be disposed in one of the pockets 106 and the other pocket 106 may be empty. A plurality of insulating inserts 108 can be disposed in a single pocket 106. For instance, the insulating inserts 108 can be stacked or layered within the pockets 106.

Optionally, the insulating inserts 108 can be releasably secured within the pockets 106 so that the insulating inserts 108 are held in the pockets 106 against movement of the bra 102 and/or the user. The insulating inserts 108 can be releasably secured within the pockets 106 via hook-and-loop type system, adhesives, mechanical fasteners, or another suitable attachment system.

FIG. 11 illustrates the bra 102 with the insulating inserts 108 removed for ease of reference. The insulating inserts 108 can be shaped to generally correspond to the shape of the pockets 106. Such an arrangement can help the insulating inserts 108 snugly fit within the pockets 106. The insulating inserts 108 can include a shape that does not generally correspond to the shape of the pockets 106. The insulating inserts 108 can have a generally rectangular shape with one or more cutouts forming a first concave portion 140 that generally corresponds to a portion of the top opening 126 and a second concave portion 142 that generally corresponds to the arm opening 128. This can allow the insulating insert 108 to more comfortably surround and/or support the user's breast. This can also reduce the visibility of the insulating insert 108 to a casual viewer, increasing the discreteness of the bra 102.

The shape and/or size of the insulating inserts 108 can also be configured to provide greater insulating coverage of the breasts. For instance, by increasing the surface area of the insulating inserts 108 covering the breasts, the exposed surface area of the user decreases, which, in turn, can increase the Clo value of the system 100.

The insulating inserts 108 can include an outer wing portion 144 configured to extend around at least a portion of the outside of a user's breast. By increasing the area of the breast covered by the insulating insert 108, the insulating insert 108 may help reduce heat loss by reducing the surface area of the user's breast that is exposed to moving air or the cold. Alternatively, the insulating insert 108 can include a second wing portion configured to extend along the inside or underside of the user's breast, thereby, increasing the thermal coverage provided to the breast by the insulating insert 108.

The insulating insert 108 can include one or more materials exhibiting a compressibility and/or flexibility so that the shape of the insulating insert 108 can generally conform to the contour of a breast. For instance, the insulating insert 108 can be configured to form a cup-like shape when positioned over the user's breast. This may allow the insulating insert 108 to more closely conform to the breast, limiting air flow and reducing heat loss via conduction. This arrangement may also effectively increase the thickness of the breast and surface area of the breast covered by the insulating insert 108, decreasing heat loss.

The configuration of the system 100 described herein is to be regarded as exemplary only, as any suitable configuration of the system is possible. For instance, in other embodiments, the bra 102 may include one or more compression panels configured to help support the user's breast. While at least one layer of synthetic fiber thermal insulation is described being inside of a receiving space 116 of the cover 114, other embodiments, the receiving space 116 may be at least in part a void space configured to help limit conductive heat loss. In other embodiments, the receiving space 116 can includes a mass of fibers, high density foam, or other suitable low thermal conductivity materials.

While the pocket openings are described being situated in the front portion, the pocket openings can be located in any suitable location. For instance, FIG. 12 illustrates a partial view of an insulating bra system 200 according to another embodiment. The system 200 includes a bra 202 and insulating inserts 208. The system 200 can be similar to the system 100 except that the pocket openings are formed on the interior of the bra 202. For instance, the bra 202 includes a front portion 204. The front portion 204 can include pockets 206 for selectively retaining the insulating inserts 208. The insulating inserts 208 can be inserted and removed from the pockets 206 via pocket openings 210.

The pocket openings 210 comprise slits in communication with the pockets 206. The slits can be formed in the liner 236 on the interior of the bra 202 and can be located at or near the bra closure system 232. This has the effect of hiding the pocket openings 210 on the inside of the bra 202, improving the discreteness of the bra 202. The bra 202 can include a pocket closure system 238 on each pocket 206 similar to the pocket closure system 138 previously described.

FIG. 13 illustrates an insulating bra system 300 according to another embodiment. The system 300 includes a bra 302 and insulating inserts 308. The bra 302 includes pockets 306 in a front portion 304. The front portion 304 can include pockets 306 for selectively retaining the insulating inserts 308. The insulating inserts 308 can be inserted and removed from the pockets 306 via pocket openings 310.

The pocket openings 310 can comprise slits in the liner 336 along the bottom of the pockets 306, extending below the breast line of the users. This may facilitate insertion and/or removal of the insulating inserts 308 from the pockets 306. The bra 302 may include a pocket closure system 338 on each pocket 306 similar to the pocket closure system 138. For instance, the pocket closure system 338 can comprise a zipper.

In other embodiments, the pocket openings may be situated along the top of the pockets. In yet other embodiments, the pocket openings may comprise slits extending diagonally across one or more parts of the front portion of the bra. It will be appreciated that while the pocket openings are shown comprising slits, in other embodiments, the pocket openings can comprise cut-outs, slots, flaps, combinations thereof, or any other suitable type of opening.

FIG. 14 is an exploded view of an insulating bra system 400 according to another embodiment. The bra system 400 can include a bra 402 and a single insulating insert 408. The bra 202 can include a front portion 404, a back portion 420, side portions 422, and a pair of shoulder straps 424. The front portion 404 may be configured to support the breasts of the user. The back portion 420 may be configured to extend across the back of the user. The side portions 422 may extend between the front portion 404 and the back portion 420. The side portions 422 can extend under the arms of the user. The shoulder straps 424 can extend across the shoulders of the user.

The bra 402 does not include a front opening and may be donned and doffed without the need of a bra closure system. For instance, the bra 402 can be put on by simply pulling the bra 402 over the user's head and onto the user's torso.

The front portion 404 can include a pocket 406 for selectively retaining the insulating insert 408. The pocket 406 can extend across the chest area of the user. The pocket 406 can comprise a separate pocket located on the inside surface of the bra 402.

The insulating insert 408 may be inserted and removed from the pocket 406 via a pocket opening similar to pocket opening 310, formed in the bottom of the pocket 406. The pocket opening can include a pocket closure system such as a hook-and-loop system, a zipper, hooks, snaps, buttons, a flap system, combinations thereof, or the like.

The insulating insert 408 can be configured similar to the insulating insert 108. For instance, the insulating insert 408 can include one or more thermal insulation materials and can be configured to help insulate the user's breast. The insulating insert 408 can comprise a synthetic fiber thermal insulation cover filed with down material. This can help reduce conductive and/or convective heat loss from the user in the chest area. The insulating insert 408 can also conveniently and discretely insulate a user's breasts from cold, wind, and/or precipitation.

The insulating insert 408 can exhibit a geometric shape that generally corresponds to the front portion 404 and side portions 422. This has the effect of increasing the insulating coverage of the user's breasts. The insulating insert 408 may further effectively increase the thickness of the breasts to reduce heat loss.

FIG. 15 is a back isometric view of an insulating bra system 500 according to another embodiment. The system 500 can include a bra 502 and insulating inserts 508. The bra 502 can comprise a standard or generic bra including a front portion 504. The front portion 504 can include bra cups 548. The insulating inserts 508 can be configured to be situated in the bra cups 548. The insulating inserts 508 can be generally cup-shaped. The insulating inserts 508 can have a generally concave shape. The insulating inserts 508 can include a thicker center and tapered edges for discretely added insulation. The insulating inserts 508 can include at least one dart or fold sewn into insulating insert 508 to help provide a three-dimensional shape to the insulating insert 508. The insulating inserts 508 can be positioned between the bra 502 and the user's breast. This arrangement allows the insulating inserts 508 to be used with almost any bra, which, in turn, makes the system 500 extremely versatile and relatively discrete. For instance, a user can use the insulating inserts 508 with the user's favorite bra.

FIG. 16 is a schematic view of an insulating bra system 600 including a temperature detection system 650 according to another embodiment. One or more sensors 652 may be disposed in the bra 602 for detecting the temperature of the breasts of the user. The sensors 652 can include thermocouples, infrared temperature sensors, or any other suitable sensor. The sensors 652 may be located in any suitable portion of the bra 602. For instance, at least one of the sensors 652 can be located on the interior of the bra 602 over a breast of the user.

The bra 602 can include an electrical signal system 654. The electrical signal system 654 can be responsive to the one or more sensors 652 and configured to provide an electrical signal when the temperature of the breasts is detected. The electrical signal system 654 can comprise a transducer, a control unit, and/or the like.

A stimulating system 656 can be situated on a portion of the bra 602 remote from the user's breasts. The stimulating system 656 can comprise a vibrator, an audible device, a light emitting device, or any other suitable stimulus. The stimulating system 656 may be responsive to the electrical signal from the electrical signal system 654 and configured to provide sensory stimulation to the user when the detected temperature of the breasts satisfies certain criteria. For instance, the stimulating system 656 may be configured to only provide sensory stimulation when the temperature of a breast is determined to be below a minimum threshold temperature selected by a user. This allows a user with little or no feeling in her breasts to be informed or warned of low breast temperatures.

While insulating bra systems have been described, in other embodiments, the insulating clothing systems can be configured in various configurations of underwear, every-day wear, swimsuits, pants, or other suitable clothing. For instance, FIG. 17 illustrates an insulating clothing system comprising an insulating underwear system 700 according to an embodiment. The system 700 can include male underwear 702 and an insulating insert 708. The front portion 704 can include a pocket 706 formed therein for selectively retaining the insulating insert 708. The pocket 706 can comprise a separate pocket located on the inside surface of the underwear 702 and can be positioned over the male genitalia.

The insulating insert 708 can be inserted and removed from the pocket 706 via a pocket opening 710 in communication with the pocket 706. Optionally, the pocket opening 710 can include a pocket closure system similar to the pocket closure systems previously described. The insulating insert 708 can at least in part thermally insulate the user's genitalia. The insulating insert 708 can be configured similar to the exemplary embodiments of the insulating inserts previously described. For instance, the insulating insert 708 can include one or more thermal insulation materials situated inside of a cover. The insulating insert 708 can include wind-resistant material such as, but not limited to, double weave nylon and spandex, wind-resistant fleece, neoprene, packcloth, ripstop, or any other suitable wind-resistant material. This has the effect of thermally insulating the user's genitalia, which, in turn, can protect the genitalia from discomfort or even frostbite. It will be appreciated that in other embodiments the insulating insert can be used in conventional men's underwear. For instance, the insulating insert 708 can be positioned in the front portion of a pair of compression boxers between the male genitalia and the boxers.

FIGS. 18 and 19 illustrate an insulating clothing system comprising an insulating swimwear system 800 according to an embodiment. The system 800 can include a swimsuit 802 including a front portion 804 and straps 824 supporting the swimsuit 802. The front portion 804 can include pockets 806 formed therein for selectively retaining the insulating inserts 808. As seen in FIG. 19, the pockets 806 can comprise separate pockets located on the inside surface of the swimsuit 802 and can be positioned over the breasts of the user. The insulating inserts 808 can be inserted and removed from the pockets 806 via pocket openings 810 in communication with the pockets 806.

The insulating inserts 808 can be configured similar to one or more of the exemplary embodiments of the insulating inserts previously described. The insulating inserts 808 can be configured for use in water. The insulating inserts 808 can include one or more thermal insulation material situated inside of a sealed silicone cover. This can allow the system 800 to thermally insulate the user's breast even while swimming or participating in other watersport activities.

FIGS. 20 and 21 illustrate an insulating clothing system comprising an insulating t-shirt system 900 according to an embodiment. The system 900 can include a t-shirt 902 including a front portion 904. The t-shirt 902 can be any suitable type of t-shirt. For instance, the t-shirt 902 can comprise a compression t-shirt, a casual t-shirt, a long sleeve t-shirt, a slim fit t-shirt, an athletic t-shirt or any other suitable type of shirt. The t-shirt 902 can be made of cotton, spandex, elastic or stretchy material, polyester, nylon, flat knit compression fabric, synthetic material, jersey cotton, natural tencel material, combinations thereof, or any other suitable material.

The front portion 904 can include pockets 906 formed therein for selectively retaining the insulating inserts 908. As seen in FIG. 21, the pockets 906 can comprise separate pockets located on the inside of the t-shirt 902 and can be positioned over the breasts of the user. In other embodiments, the t-shirt 902 can include a liner and an outer layer and the pockets 906 can be defined at least in part between the liner and the outer layer.

The insulating inserts 908 can be inserted and removed from the pockets 906 via pocket openings 910 in communication with the pockets 906. The insulating inserts 908 can be configured similar to one or more of the insulating inserts previously described. In use, the insulating inserts 908 can be positioned in the pockets 906 to passively provide thermal insulation to the user's breasts.

Of course, it is to be understood that not necessarily all objects or advantages may be achieved in accordance with any particular embodiment of the invention. Thus, for example, those skilled in the art will recognize that the invention may be embodied or carried out in a manner that achieves or optimizes one advantage or group of advantages as taught herein without necessarily achieving other objects or advantages as may be taught or suggested herein.

The skilled artisan will recognize the interchangeability of various disclosed features from the disclosed embodiments and variations. In addition to variations described herein, other known equivalents for each feature can be mixed and matched by one of ordinary skill in this art to construct an insulating clothing system in accordance with principles of the present invention.

Although this invention has been disclosed in the context of exemplary embodiments and examples, it therefore will be understood by those skilled in the art that the present invention extends beyond the specifically disclosed embodiments to other alternative embodiments and/or uses of the invention and obvious modifications and equivalents thereof. Thus, it is intended that the scope of the present invention herein disclosed should not be limited by the particular disclosed embodiments described above. Additionally, the words “including,” “having,” and variants thereof (e.g., “includes” and “has”) as used herein, including the claims, shall be open ended and have the same meaning as the word “comprising” and variants thereof (e.g., “comprise” and “comprises”).