Patent application title: APPAREL BAND SYSTEM AND METHOD OF BINDING CLOTHING ARTICLES
Dean Brosie (Springfield, NJ, US)
Mary Ditosto (Springfield, NJ, US)
IPC8 Class: AA43B1700FI
Class name: Apparel nether garments stockings
Publication date: 2012-07-05
Patent application number: 20120167276
The disclosed embodiments relate generally to an apparel band system for
attaching clothing items together during cleaning or storage. The apparel
band may also be used to provide athletic support. The material for the
apparel band is a flexible, comfortable material that stretches, and
preferably matches the color of the clothing article it is attached
thereon. Attachment to the clothing article may be fixed or removable.
The apparel band may be attached to any portion of the clothing article.
Preferably the apparel band is attached such that it can be hidden or
placed inside the clothing article. In addition, there may be more than
one apparel band attached to a single clothing article. In another
embodiment the sock band may be inherently formed in the sock such as in
the form of a slot.
1. A system for binding clothing articles together for cleaning and
storage, comprising: at least one elongated member having flexibility;
and a clothing article having the at least one elongated member attached
thereto for binding at least one other clothing article thereto.
2. The system of claim 1 further includes a linking means to fixably attach the elongated member to the clothing article.
3. The system of claim 1, wherein the elongating member is a slot defined by the clothing article.
4. The system of claim 1, wherein the elongated member is in the form of a circular band, and the clothing article binded thereto is disposed within the circular band.
5. The system of claim 1 wherein the elongated member is disposed within the clothing article.
6. The system of claim 1, wherein the elongated member is made of an elastomeric material.
7. The system of claim 1, wherein each clothing article has an elongated member disposed thereto.
8. The system of claim 1, wherein the clothing article has a plurality of elongated members disposed thereon.
9. The system of claim 1, wherein the elongated member is disposed therearound the clothing article it is attached thereto for providing athletic support to the wearer of the clothing article.
10. A system for binding clothing articles together for cleaning and storage, comprising: at least one apparel band having flexibility; and a clothing article having the at least one apparel band attached thereto for binding at least one other clothing article thereto.
11. The system of claim 10, wherein the apparel band is the same color as the clothing article that it attached thereto.
12. The system of claim 10, further including a linking means to attach the apparel band to the clothing article that it is attached thereto.
13. The system of claim 12, wherein the linking means is at least one of the following: a Velcro® strap, adhesive, sewn thread, snapfit, buckle, hook, bobbit, tape, fastener, magnet, friction fitting, spring, hinge, dowel, wire, chain, suction cup, clip, grommet, clasp, button, clamp, flange, anchor, pin, rivet, rubber band, stitches, snap, staple, zipper, strap, or any combination thereof.
14. The system of claim 12, wherein the clothing article is a sock, glove, shoe, sneaker, under garment, shirt, blouse, skirt, pants, tie, belt, glove, mitten, hat, jacket, or any other clothing article.
15. A system for binding clothing articles together, comprising: at least one apparel band having flexibility; at least one clothing article; and a linking means for attaching the at least one clothing article to the apparel band for the apparel band to attach at least one other clothing article thereto.
16. The system of claim 15, wherein the apparel band is in the shape of a circle, oval, or polygon.
17. The system of claim 15, wherein the apparel band has a width greater than 1/4 inches.
18. The system of claim 15, wherein the apparel band is made of a soft material.
19. The system of claim 15, wherein a plurality of apparel bands are attached to one clothing article.
20. The system of claim 15, wherein a plurality of apparel bands are attached at various locations on one clothing article.
21. A system for binding clothing articles together for cleaning and storage, comprising: a clothing article defining an opening for binding at least one other clothing article thereto.
22. The system of claim 21 further includes an elastic band for creating access to the opening for insertion of the other clothing article therethrough.
23. A method for binding apparel articles together, comprising: placing at least one first apparel article through a second apparel article that defines an opening for attaching the at least one first apparel article thereto.
24. The method of claim 23, wherein the opening in the second apparel article is an elastomeric member of any shape.
25. The method of claim 24, wherein the elastomeric member is hidden inside the second apparel article.
FIELD OF THE INVENTION
 An apparel band is disclosed herein and more particularly the disclosed apparel band provides binding of apparel such as socks, and other clothing items together, for support during cleaning or sorting for storage.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
 Many of today's apparel or clothing articles such as socks, shirt ties, infant clothes, shoes, and the like get lost when sent out for professional cleaning or washed in the home setting. Similarly, when clothing articles are placed away for storage there is little resistance to keep the articles of clothing together, making for example mixed matched colored socks, or missing articles of infant clothing articles.
 In the past, for some clothing articles such as socks, knots were made between the socks or the socks were rolled up to prevent separation. This method of keeping the socks together during the cleaning process and storage was met with unsatisfactory results as socks would become untied or dislodged resulting in mismatched socks and an unsatisfactory experience. In addition, some clothing articles do not comport to being tied in knots or rolled up like a sock, such as certain matching infant apparel, under garments, shirt and vest or skirt and blouse combinations, and the like.
 It is previously known that there have been attempts to use devices to combine clothing articles. For example, U.S. Pat. No. 5,974,590 to Stubbs discloses a matching sock connector on each sock. The sock connector on each sock has a matching component such as a snap fit, having a male and female component, to connect the two socks together. This device is cumbersome to use since socks at times are not equally matched during storage leaving some socks with the same component end of a snap fit, and thus being unable to connect the socks together. Furthermore, matching snap fit components of the socks together is burdensome to the sock user. The appearance of the snap fits is also aesthetically displeasing and may actually cause discomfort when the socks are worn.
 Another attempt to combined socks together was seen in U.S. Pat. No. 5,038,413 to Ursino. In this patent each fastener on the sock contained spikes passing through the sock fabric. A locking means was used on the other matching sock. As in the previous patent, the user needs to match the locking mechanisms to each sock which causes inconvenience to the user. In addition, like the above patent, Ursino has a device that may cause discomfort when the socks are worn and would be aesthetically displeasing to wear.
 In Australian patent AU675040 to Christy socks with tab connectors are disclosed. This patent describes the use of a tab on each sock. The tabs may contain Velcro® patches or strips to allow the socks to be joined together. Like the above patents, this device would require the matching of socks to properly match the ends of the Velcro® strips. In addition, the appearance of the strips on the socks would not be fashionable and may even cause some discomfort when worn due to the hook configurations on the Velcro® strips.
 Thus, there still remains in the art a need for a device that joins apparel or clothing articles such as socks together that does not involve burdensome matching of apparel. The device needs to be aesthetically pleasing and comfortable to wear. There is also a need in the art for such a device that can withstand the vigorous forces of cleaning and allow use during storage of the clothing articles.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
 The present invention provides for an apparel band. The band may be made of a flexible and comfortable material that will allow it to expand over other clothing articles and then contract making a temporary binding of the clothing articles within the band. The band may be fixed or removably placed on any portion of the clothing article. Preferably, the band is placed on the inside of the clothing article to hide the band when not in use. The band may be used to hold the clothing articles together during cleaning or storage. Several unexpected results occur when utilizing the apparel band. The band may be positioned to allow the wearer to more firmly secure the clothing article during use on the wearer. For example, the wearer may use the band to hold up socks or pants. A further unexpected result is found in positioning the apparel band to allow athletic support of various limbs, ligaments, or the like. Depending on the width of the apparel band, the band may be utilized as an elastic wrap to support sore muscles. For example, a user may desire to utilize the band while wearing the clothing item and support the feet, shoulders, or other areas of the body.
 One of the intended purposes of the band is to keep clothing items, such as but not limited to, a pair of socks together during the laundry process so the clothing article does into get lost from the clothing item that it was attached. In one embodiment the band is disposed in the inside top section of the sock or other clothing article hidden from view during wear. The color of the band may, but does not necessarily need to, match the clothing article to further hid the band during wear of the clothing article. In another embodiment a hole is defined within the clothing article, such as but not limited to a sock, to allow binding with another clothing article. The clothing article may or may not be alike depending on the embodiment. For example, at least one sock may be tied to pants for a wash cycle or storage, for example.
 In one embodiment, the apparel band is sewn on the clothing item. The apparel band may be fixed on any portion of the clothing item, but again is preferably attached on the inside of the clothing article to hide the band during non-use. The band can expand over other clothing items of same or different kind. The apparel band may be or any shape or width, but is preferably circular. The color, texture, or shape of the apparel band may be different for each clothing article to allow identification of a specific combination of clothing articles. Preferably, the apparel band is colored to match the color of the clothing article thereby further hiding the band during non-use.
 In another embodiment, the apparel band is removably fixed to further allow positioning of the apparel band on any area of the clothing article. The removability of the apparel band also allows the user to remove the apparel band during non-use.
 The foregoing objects are achieved and other features and advantages of the present invention will become more apparent in light of the following detailed description of exemplary embodiments thereof, as illustrated in the accompanying drawings.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
 In the drawings, wherein similar reference characters denote similar elements throughout the several views:
 FIG. 1 shows a side view of one embodiment illustrating the apparel band on multiple clothing articles.
 FIG. 2 shows a side view of one embodiment illustrating the apparel band on a single clothing article being attached to other clothing articles.
 FIG. 3A shows another embodiment side view illustrating the apparel band in use located at a different position on the clothing article.
 FIG. 3B shows the apparel band attached on the outside of the clothing article and hidden during non-use.
 FIG. 3C shows the apparel band attached to the inside of the clothing article and hidden during non-use.
 FIG. 4 shows the apparel band on two clothing articles and regions of possible alternative locations of the apparel band.
 FIG. 5 shows a side view of attaching the clothing items with an apparel band of FIG. 4.
 FIG. 6 shows an embodiment of a plurality of apparel bands attaching clothing items.
 FIG. 7A-B shows a side view with the apparel band attached to a toe region, and wrapped around the clothing article it is attached on to provide support to the wearer.
 FIG. 8 shows the apparel band created by having an opening in the clothing article.
 The invention will now be described in detail with reference to the accompanying drawings. The present invention relates to a system to bind clothing articles together. This binding systems avoids the problems of the prior methods of binding clothing together for cleaning and storage purposes. An unexpected result of the present binding system is that it is not only useful for keeping clothing articles together during cleaning and storage, it also provides support to the wearer of the clothing article.
 This invention has the ability to have the apparel band fixedly attached or removably attached to the clothing article. The apparel band may be disposed on any part of the clothing article, either removably or fixedly attached or both if there are multiple apparel bands on the clothing article. Preferably, the apparel band is disposed inside the clothing article to hide the apparel band when not in use.
 There may be a single apparel band on the clothing article or several apparel bands on a single clothing article. For purposes of this invention, apparel band can be any shape size or width and does not necessarily have to be an enclosed structure. For example, the apparel band may be a rod, elastic circular band, clasp or the like. Preferably, the apparel band is made of an elastomeric material but is not so limited to such a material. Other materials for example, may be a shape memory alloy, composite, or the like.
 For purposes of this specification, clothing articles refer to, but are not so limited to, socks, under garments, blouse, shirt, dress, pants, skirt, glove, mitten, shoe, sneaker, cleat, sandals, boots, hat, cap, diving suit, costume, uniform, coat, jacket, sweater, vest, clothing accessories such as cosmetics, perfume, jewelry, and other ornaments, umbrella, cane, and the like. The use of the system can be used to bind any items that should be paired and may be lost if not bound together.
 This invention overcomes the solutions of the past by providing a comfortable and hidden method of binding clothing articles together when needed by the user. The apparel band may be made of a soft material or have a coating that provides softness when rubbed against the user. Preferably, the apparel band is of the color or pattern of the clothing article it is attached to initially. The apparel band if fixed to the clothing article may be sewn, stapled, taped glued or the like to the initial clothing article. Again, the apparel band may be located anywhere on the clothing article. If the apparel band is removably attached, mechanisms, such as Velcro®, zippers, or other temporary binding mechanisms may be incorporated in the clothing article. The removable apparel band is also be able be located anywhere on the clothing article. Again it is preferred that the apparel band is hidden during non-use and location of the apparel band may be a factor. For example, in a sock, it may be preferred to locate the apparel band on the inside neck of the sock.
 The following examples and drawings will be described in terms of the clothing article being a sock. This invention is not so limited to socks and can be incorporated into any clothing article. The description is given merely to assist in demonstrating some of the principles of the invention.
 In one embodiment, the clothing article is a sock. The system is used to keep socks as pairs in drawers and during cleaning. The apparel band is stretch over the other sock and binds the socks together. Again, the band material is a flexible aerial that expands and contract upon stretching, and is generally an elastomer or other suitable material that provides a grasping strength.
 The band may be any width or diameter and need not be a circle or enclosed structure. A wider apparel band may be preferred if athletic support is sought by the wearer. The diameter and other dimensions of the apparel band may be varied to adjust the holding force based on the sock type or clothing article. Unexpectedly, the apparel band may provide athletic support when not in use if the apparel band is bound over the sock it is removably or fixedly attached onto initially. Another unexpected result is that the apparel band may be used to hold items during exercising. The apparel band can also be used to hold the socks up during the day for formal dress or during athletic events. The apparel band may be manufactured by embedding the apparel band in clothing apparel itself or attached after manufacture of the clothing article.
 The apparel band can be attached anywhere on the sock but preferably is attached on the inside upper portion as not to interfere with the wearer. The apparel band may be color coded to closely match the sock color but can be mixed and matched in any combination. In addition, other methods may be employed either with or without the color code. For example, the texture of the apparel band may be used to identify matched pairs. One advantage the present invention has over the prior art devices is that the apparel band does not require the user to work at a latching mechanism or be encumbered by rough or sharp and uncomfortable connectors.
 Adverting to the drawings, FIG. 1 illustrates one embodiment of the invention. As an example the clothing article is a pair of socks 10. The socks are in this embodiment attached by a linking mechanism 14. The linking mechanism may be any type of linking mechanism that attaches, fixedly or removably, as previously described, to the apparel band 12 to the clothing article.
 Both clothing articles do not have to contain the apparel band. As an example FIG. 2 illustrates an apparel band 22 is attached to sock 24 but not sock 26 of sock pair 20. A linking mechanism 28 may or may not be used depending on the embodiment. In one embodiment the apparel band is inherently attached to the clothing article without a linking mechanism.
 In one embodiment, the linking mechanism is utilized as shown in FIG. 3A. Linking mechanism 28 may be located anywhere on the clothing article. In the embodiment shown in FIG. 3A the linking-mechanism and apparel band 22 is located on the neck of the sock. Again the purpose of the linking mechanism is to attach the apparel band to the clothing article. However as previously explained the apparel band may be directly attached to the clothing article.
 FIG. 3B illustrates the apparel band connected to the top of the neck of the sock 25. Apparel band 22 may be hidden inside sock 245 during non-use of the apparel band. In this embodiment a linking mechanism is utilized and is mounted outside the sock. However, this invention is not so limited to such an embodiment.
 As shown in FIG. 3C illustrated is one embodiment where the apparel band 22 is hidden inside sock 27 and there is no linking mechanism outside the sock. In this embodiment, the linking mechanism may not be used or if the linking mechanism is used it may be disposed within the sock or clothing article for this example.
 FIG. 4 illustrates a sock pair 40. Socks 42 and 44 show one example regions where the apparel ban may be located. In this example the apparel band is located at the top of the neck of the socks 42 and 44. A linking mechanism 48 is utilized in this example for apparel band 46. In this example, both socks have apparel band 46 however, just one clothing article may have the apparel band.
 As shown in FIG. 5 even if both clothing article have an apparel band, the use of just one of the apparel bands may be utilized. In this example sock pair 50 utilized apparel band 58 only to match and bind socks 52 and 54. In this illustration a linking mechanism 58 is used. Again a linking mechanism may or may not be used depending on the embodiment.
 FIG. 6 illustrates the use of multiple apparel bands. Multiple apparel bands may be on a single clothing article. In addition, multiple apparel bands may be on all clothing articles. Alternatively, a single apparel band may be on each clothing article or any combination of the previous recited configurations for the apparel band may be used. In the example shown in FIG. 6, multiple apparel bands 58' are attached to sock 54. Apparel band 58 is attached to the other sock in sock pair 50. Again, multiple configurations and number of apparel bands may be utilized depending on the need or holding force desired.
 FIG. 7A illustrates an apparel band 64 attached to the toe region of a sock 62 for sock pair 60. This further illustrates that the apparel band may be located anywhere on the clothing. As shown in FIG. 7B, the apparel band 64 may be bound around the clothing article it was initially attached to before matching it to other clothing articles. In the exemplary illustration, the apparel band is being utilized as an athletic support for the foot, such as an elastic wrap depending on the embodiment and need.
 FIG. 8 illustrates another embodiment of the present invention. Shown is a pair of socks 80 having socks 84 and 82 with inherent bands 86 and 86'. In one embodiment the inherent band is in the form of a slot. The slot may be through multiple sides of the sock or just one side depending on the embodiment. Toe section 88 and 88' may be passed through band 86' and 86 respectively. In the alternative toe section 88 may be placed through band 86 to create a rolled sock suitable for storage.
 Other alternative embodiments or implementations according to the various teachings of the present invention will be understood by those skilled in the art and are achieved without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention. In accordance with the scope of the invention, access to the networking site or other sites may include exclusive access to the site or sender's information, or combination of both access to the site and sender's information. It is therefore intended that the present invention is not limited to the disclosed embodiments described herein but should be defined in accordance with the claims that follow.
Patent applications in class Stockings
Patent applications in all subclasses Stockings