Patent application title: Lightweight Decorative Belt
Alyson Harber (Bellevue, WA, US)
Amy Sirich (Kirkland, WA, US)
IPC8 Class: AA41F900FI
Class name: Garment supporters and retainers elements belt, strap, or strip constructions
Publication date: 2012-03-15
Patent application number: 20120060263
A lightweight decorative belt that includes a thin, elongated elastic
strap with a thin buckle selectively attached at one end of the strap.
The buckle includes a tongue member formed on one end that is selectively
attached to an insert member affixed to the end of the strap. On the
opposite end of the buckle is a d-ring with slot opening designed to
receive the opposite end of the strap. The strap is designed to extend
through the d-ring and is looped rearward and under the strap and hidden
from view. Attached to the detached second end of the strap is a slide
hook that selectively engages one of a plurality of side-by-side pockets
formed on the inside surface. The strap can be adjusted by sliding the
strap through the d-ring and connecting the slide hook to one of the
desired pockets formed on the inside surface of the strap.
1. A lightweight decorative belt, comprising: a. a thin, elongated
elastic strap with a first end, a second end, an outside surface and an
inside surface; b. an insert member securely attached to said first end
of said strap, said insert member includes an elongated slot formed
thereon; c. a slide hook attached to said second end of said elastic
strap; d. a thin buckle that includes a front surface and a transversely
aligned d-ring formed along one end and a transversely aligned tongue
member formed on its opposite end, said buckle includes a front surface;
and, e. a plurality of side by side, transversely aligned pockets formed
on said inside surface of said elastic strap, each said pocket being
sufficient in length and width to selective receive said slide hook, each
said pocket also including a top opening and a bottom opening, whereby
when said second end of said elastic strap is inserted through said
d-ring and folded rearward and under said elastic strap, said slide hook
is selectively engages one of said pockets to adjust the overall length
of said elastic strap.
2. The lightweight decorative belt as recited in claim 1, further including an ornamental plate affixed to said front surface of said buckle.
3. A lightweight decorative belt used with a pair of pants, comprising: a. a thin, elongated elastic strap with a first end, a second end, an outside surface and an inside surface; b. a thin buckle that includes a first lateral edge, a second lateral edge, and a front surface; c. means for selectively holding said first end of said strap to said first lateral edge of said buckle; d. means for slidingly receiving said strap located on said second lateral edge of said buckle, said means for sliding receiving said strap configured to receive said second end of said strap thereby forming a belt structure that is worn around a user's waist and allows excessive strap material to be extended rearward and under the strap and hidden from view; e. a slide hook attached to said second end of said elastic strap; and, f. a plurality of pockets located on said inside surface of said strap, each said pockets being transversely aligned on said inside surface of said strap and include a top opening the receives said slide hook, said pockets being positioned at different positions on said inside surface of said strap so that by attaching said slide hook to different pockets, the amount of tension force exerted by said strap around a uer's waist may be adjusted to a desired amount.
4. The belt as recited in claim 3, wherein said means for selectively holding said first end of said strap to said first lateral edge of said buckle is tongue member formed said first edge of said buckle and an insert member attached to said first edge of said strap.
5. The belt, as recited in claim 3, wherein said means for slidingly receiving said strap located on said second lateral edge of said buckle is a d-ring.
6. The belt, as recited in claim 3, further including each pocket has a lower opening and said slide hook as a lateral extending tip that engage to hold said slide hook in said pocket.
 This utility patent application is based on and claims the filing
date benefit of U.S. provisional patent application (Application No.
61/381339), filed on Sep. 9, 2010.
 Notice is hereby given that the following patent document contains original material which is subject to copyright protection. The copyright owner has no objection to the facsimile or digital download reproduction of all or part of the patent document, but otherwise reserves all copyrights whatsoever.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
 1. Field of the Invention
 This invention relates to garment belts, and more particularly to garment belts made of lightweight, thin materials and with decorative buckles.
 2. Description of the Related Art
 Waist garment belts are used to hold a pair of pants around the waist and as a fashion accessory. For some individuals, the `fashion accessory` aspect or purpose of a belt may be more important than the `pant holding` purpose.
 Continuous elastic straps are commonly used as waist belts on sporting apparel because they are lightweight, self adjusting and use few metal components. Most elastic belts include a buckle that enables them to be adjusted in length and tension to temporarily hold the elastic strap comfortably around the waist of the user. Unfortunately, when the buckle is disconnected from the strap, the strap's overall length and tension is automatically released. When reconnecting the buckle to the strap, the overall length and tension of the strap must be re-adjusted.
 Many individuals wear pants that accent their narrow waist and hips. An important functional and fashion accessory to a pair of pants is a belt. While decorative belts are common, many belts use relatively thick buckles or clasps and thick straps that make the individual's waist and hips appear wider or more bulky than desired. Also, most decorative belts when worn have a loose end that extends through the buckle or clasp and is folded rearward over the outside surface of the belt via a loop located on the pants or on the belt. Ideally, the amount of excess strap material should be relatively short to extend into a loop attached to the pants or to the belt. If the excess strap material is too long or too short, the loose end may become detached from the loop and distracting.
 What is needed is a lightweight decorative belt that includes a relatively thin buckle and an elastic strap that has a thin profile, connects the strap to the buckle so that the strap has a symmetrical appearance around the buckle, retains its desired length and tension setting when removed from the waist, and conceals the excess strap material and the loose end from view when worn.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
 It is an object of the present invention to provide a lightweight, adjustable, decorative belt with a thin elastic strap and a thin exchangeable buckle with an ornamental face plate.
 It is another object of the present invention to provide such a belt that has the appearance of a continuous belt with no visually apparent ends and has a symmetrical appearance on opposite sides of the buckle.
 It is another object of the present invention to provide such a belt that allows the user to adjust and affix the belt's overall length and tension to a desired amount and allow the user to selectively connect and disconnect the belt from the user's waist.
 It is a further object of the present invention to provide such a belt that conceals the section of excess strap material and the loose end of the strap when the belt is worn.
 These and other objects of the invention are met by a lightweight decorative belt disclosed herein that includes a thin, elongated elastic strap with a thin decorative buckle selectively attached at one end of the strap. The buckle includes a tongue member formed on one end that is selectively attached to an insert member affixed to the first end of the strap. Formed on the opposite end of the buckle is a d-ring with a transversely aligned slot opening designed to receive the opposite second end of the strap. The strap is designed to extend through the d-ring and wrap rearward under the strap thereby hiding the excess strap material and the loose end of strap from view. Also, when the insert member and the tongue member are interconnected, they are configured to have the same shape and width as the d-ring formed on the opposite end of the buckle thereby creating a symmetrical appearance.
 Attached to the second end of the strap is a slide hook that selectively engages one of a plurality of side-by-side pockets formed on the strap's inside surface. During use, the length and tension of the strap can be adjusted by sliding the strap through the d-ring and connecting the slide hook to one of the desired pockets formed on the inside surface of the strap. Once adjusted to the desired length and tension, the insert member is selectively connected and disconnected from the tongue member on the bucket to close and open the belt, respectively, around the user's waist.
 During use, the user first adjusts the overall length of the belt and the amount of tension exerted thereby by attaching the slide hook on the second end of the strap to different pockets located on the inside surface of strap. Once adjusted, the insert member is then selectively engaged and disengaged from the tongue member to connect or disconnect the belt from the user's waist.
 In one embodiment, the buckle includes a recessed cavity formed on its front surface that is designed to receive an exchangeable thin, ornamental face plate. During use, the buckle can be completely detached from the strap and exchanged with another buckle with a different ornamental face plate thereby giving the user the option of making a wide variety to buckle and strap combinations to produce different ornamental belts that can be used with different pants and outfits.
DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
 FIG. 1 is a front perspective view of the lightweight, decorative belt with an exchangeable ornamental face plate on the buckle.
 FIG. 2 is a front elevational view of the buckle showing one ornamental faceplate being replaced by a second ornamental face plate.
 FIG. 3 is a partial top plan view of the buckle being attached to the opposite ends of the elastic waist strap.
 FIG. 4 is a front elevational view showing the clasp member attached to the fixed end of the strap being attached to the end tab member formed on the buckle.
 FIG. 5 is a partial rear elevational view of the belt showing the hook being selectively attached to one of the pockets to adjust the overall length of the belt.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT(S)
 Referring to FIG. 1, there is shown a lightweight, decorative belt 10 that includes an elongated elastic strap 15 and a thin decorative buckle 50. The elastic strap 15 includes a first end 20, a second end 25, an outside surface 40 and an inside surface 45. Formed on the first end 20 is a loop 21 that receives a leg member 25 formed on an insert member 24. Formed on second end is a second loop 26 that receives the inside leg member 31 on a slide hook 30.
 As shown in FIG. 2, the buckle 50 is a flat plate body 51 with two opposite first and second lateral edges 52, 54. Attached or integrally formed on the first edge 52 is a laterally extending tongue member 60. The tongue member 60 is a step-like structure with a rearward extending beveled section 62 and a lateral extending lip 64. Attached or integrally formed on the buckle's second vertical edge 54 is a means for slidingly receiving the strap 15. In the embodiment presented herein, the means for slidingly receiving the strap is a d-ring 66 with an elongated slot 68 formed thereon. Formed on the front surface of the buckle 50 is an optional rectangular-shaped recessed area 72 designed to receive a complimentary shaped ornamental face plate 74. Applied between the recessed cavity 72 and the face plate 74 is a suitable adhesive 76 capable of permanently holding the face plate 74 in the recessed cavity 72 during normal use.
 As shown in FIGS. 3 and 4, the insert member 24 includes two parallel rectangular, elongated slots 25, 27. During assembly, the first loop 21 formed on the first end 20 of the strap 15 is wrapped around the leg 28 and extends partially through the first slot 26. The second slot 27 is designed to receive the lateral extending lip 64 formed on the buckle 50. To hold the insert member 24 on the buckle 50, the insert member 24 is diagonally aligned and registered with the buckle 50 as shown in FIG. 3, so that the lateral extending lip 64 may be upward from the bottom surface of the insert member 24 and into the second slot 27. The insert member 24 is then rotated downward so that the lateral extended lip 64 is forced downward and extends over the top surface of the insert member 24. When longitudinal directed tension is exerted on the insert member 24 by the strap 20, the insert member 24 is maintained in a longitudinally alignment with the buckle 50 and the lateral extending lip 64 is continuously forced downward over the top surface of the insert member 24.
 As shown in FIG. 1, the strap 15 is designed to extend through the d-ring 66 formed on the end of the buckle 50. As stated above, attached to the second end 25 of the strap 15 is a longitudinally aligned secondary loop 26 that wraps around the inside leg member 31 on a slide hook 30 as shown more clearly in FIG. 5. The strap 15, the secondary loop 26 and the slide hook 30 are smaller in width than the slot opening 68 formed on the d-ring 60, thereby enabling them to easily slide back and forth through the d-ring 60. The slide hook 30 is also a relatively flat structure designed to rest directly against the inside surface of the strap 15. The slide hook 30 includes an outer leg member 32 designed to slide vertically into one of a plurality of pockets 80 formed on the inside surface 45 of the strap 15. Each pocket 80 includes a top opening 82 and a bottom opening 84. In the embodiment shown herein, the outer leg member 32 includes a bent lip 34 formed on its distal end. When the slide hook 30 is inserted into one of the pockets 80, the lip 34 extends below the bottom opening 84 and engages the edge of the bottom opening 84 to temporarily hold the slide hook 30 in the pocket 80.
 During use, the length and tension of the strap 15 can be adjusted by sliding the strap 15 through the d-ring 60 and connecting the slide hook 30 to one of the desired pockets 80 formed on the inside surface of the strap 15. Once adjusted to the desired length and tension, and slide hook 30 is not adjusted and the insert member 24 is selectively connected and disconnected from the tongue member 60 on the buckle 50 to close and open the belt 10, respectively, around the user's waist. Because the excess strap material is extended rearward from the d-ring 66 and under the strap 15, the excess strap material and second end 25 are hidden. Also, the insert member 24 and the tongue member 60 are configured to have the same shape as the d-ring 66, thus giving the strap 15 and buckle 50 a modern, fashionable, symmetrical appearance.
 In the preferred embodiment, the elastic strap 15 measures 20 to 60 inches in length, 1/2 to 3 inches in width, and stretches 10 to 25% of its length. Also, in the preferred embodiment, there are two to twenty pockets 80 formed on the inside surface of the strap 15. The first pocket 80 is located on the half section of strap 15 two to six inches inward from the second end 25. The remaining pockets 80 are then aligned side by side along the inside surface and towards the strap's center axis.
 In compliance with the statute, the invention described herein has been described in language more or less specific as to structural features. It should be understood however, that the invention is not limited to the specific features shown, since the means and construction shown is comprised only of the preferred embodiments for putting the invention into effect. The invention is therefore claimed in any of its forms or modifications within the legitimate and valid scope of the amended claims, appropriately interpreted in accordance with the doctrine of equivalents.
Patent applications in class Belt, strap, or strip constructions
Patent applications in all subclasses Belt, strap, or strip constructions