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Title:
BRASSIERE WITH BREAST SEPARATOR
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2018/042174
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A brassiere (1) comprising: an outer layer (2) comprising a back portion (3) and a front portion (4) coupled to the back portion; and a breast separator (6), wherein the breast separator is provided inside the outer layer.

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Inventors:
WOODWARD, Jamie Leigh (14 Alexandra Terrace, King Edward Avenue, Dartford Kent DA1 2HH, DA1 2HH, GB)
Application Number:
GB2017/052531
Publication Date:
March 08, 2018
Filing Date:
August 31, 2017
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
WOODWARD, Jamie Leigh (14 Alexandra Terrace, King Edward Avenue, Dartford Kent DA1 2HH, DA1 2HH, GB)
International Classes:
A41C3/00; A41C3/12
Domestic Patent References:
WO2009149529A12009-12-17
Foreign References:
US8047892B12011-11-01
DE202013011873U12014-09-09
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
DOLLEYMORES (9 Rickmansworth Road, Watford Hertfordshire WD18 0JU, WD18 0JU, GB)
Download PDF:
Claims:
Claims

1 . A brassiere comprising:

an outer layer comprising a back portion and a front portion coupled to the back portion; and

a breast separator,

wherein the breast separator is provided inside the outer layer.

2. A brassiere as claimed in Claim 1 , wherein the breast separator is attached to the brassiere in a base portion of the breast separator and comprises a projecting portion, which projects upward during use, so as to lie within the wearer's cleavage, the projecting portion being detached from the brassiere so that it can move independently of the brassiere. 3. A brassiere as claimed in any preceding claim, wherein the brassiere further comprises a pair of cups or a pair of curved underwire portions provided inside the outer layer, the breast separator being provided between the cups or underwire portions. 4. A brassiere as claimed in Claim 3, wherein the cups or underwire portions are joined to one another via the breast separator.

5. A brassiere as claimed in any preceding claim, wherein the breast separator is integrally formed with the cups or underwire portions.

6. A brassiere as claimed in Claim 5, wherein the breast projecting portion is formed by slits, which separate the projecting portion from the cups or underwire portions. 7. A brassiere as claimed in any of Claims 3 to 5, where in the projecting portion projects upward between the cups or underwire portions from the uppermost point at which the cups or underwire portions join to the breast separator.

8. A brassiere as claimed in any of Claims 2 to 7, wherein the projecting portion has a height of between 2 and 10cm.

9. A brassiere as claimed in any of Claims 2 to 8, wherein the thickness of the projecting portion increases as it projects upward along at least part of its length.

10. A brassiere as claimed in Claim 9, wherein the thickness of the projecting portion increases continuously from its base to its tip. 1 1 . A brassiere as claimed in any of Claims 2 to 10, wherein the width of the projecting portion decreases as it projects upward along at least part of its length.

12. A brassiere as claimed in Claim 1 1 , wherein the width of the projecting portion decreases continuously from its base to its tip.

13. A brassiere as claimed in any of Claims 2 to 12, wherein sides of the protecting portion are curved or tapered.

14. A brassiere as claimed in any of Claims 4 to 12, wherein the projecting portion is substantially triangular or wedge-shaped.

15. A brassiere as claimed in any preceding claim, wherein the thickness of the breast separator increases as it projects upward along at least part of its length. 16. A brassiere as claimed in Claim 15, wherein the thickness of the breast separator increases continuously from its base to its tip.

17. A brassiere as claimed in any preceding claim, wherein the width of the breast separator decreases as it projects upward along at least part of its length.

18. A brassiere as claimed in Claim 17, wherein the width of the breast separator decreases continuously from its base to its tip.

19. A brassiere as claimed in any preceding claim, wherein sides of the breast separator are curved or tapered.

20. A brassiere as claimed in any preceding claim, wherein the breast separator is substantially triangular or wedge-shaped.

21 . A brassiere as claimed in any preceding claim, wherein the breast separator comprises a resilient material. 22. A brassiere as claimed in any preceding claim, wherein the breast separator comprises foam.

23. A brassiere as claimed in Claim 21 or 22, wherein the breast separator comprises one or more reinforcing elements.

24. A brassiere as claimed in any of Claims 2 to 23, wherein a pair of elastic members are attached at their proximal ends to the projecting portion, the elastic members extending outward from opposed sides of the breast separator and attached to the outer layer at their distal ends.

25. A brassiere as claimed in Claim 24, wherein the elastic members each extend above a respective one of the cups.

26. A brassiere as claimed in Claim 24 or 25, wherein the elastic members are provided with fastening means at their distal ends for adjustable attachment to the outer layer.

27. A brassiere as claimed in any of Claims 24 to 26, wherein the distal ends of the elastic members attach to the outer layer adjacent an intersection between cup panels and shoulder straps of the outer layer.

28. A brassiere as claimed in any of Claims 24 to 27, wherein the elastic members have a higher elastic modulus than the outer layer.

29. A brassiere as claimed in Claim 3 or any claim dependent thereon, wherein a pair of further elastic members is provided, each of the further elastic members is attached at a proximal end to a lower portion of a respective one of the cups or

5 underwire portions and extends outward from the respective cup or underwire

portion with its distal end attached to the outer layer.

30. A brassiere as claimed in Claim 29, wherein the further elastic members have a higher elastic modulus than the outer layer.

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31 . A brassiere as claimed in Claim 5 or any claim dependent thereon, wherein the cups are underwired.

Description:
Brassiere with Breast Separator

The present disclosure relates to the field of brassieres (bras) and particularly to bras suitable to be worn during exercise and which provide enhanced separation and support of the breasts.

Bras are worn by many women to support their breasts. The type of bra selected to be worn will often be influenced by the personal preferences of a wearer regarding, among other factors, comfort and any activity to be performed while the bra is being worn.

A sports bra is a type of bra that provides increased support to the breasts, reducing movement of the breasts during physical exercise and thereby reducing discomfort that may otherwise result from such movement. Sports bras generally provide additional support by encapsulating and/or compressing the breasts. Sports bras that encapsulate the breasts usually have moulded cups that separate the breasts and provide support around each breast, whereas sports bras that compress the breasts usually apply uniform pressure to flatten the breasts against the chest. The type of sports bra selected to be worn will depend on a range of factors, including breast size and the nature of the exercise to be undertaken. Different types of physical exercise can result in varying amounts of breast movement. Low- impact exercise will typically cause less movement than high-impact exercise.

Larger breasts will generally move more during physical exercise than smaller breasts.

For women who have larger breasts and who wish to perform high (or in some cases even low-impact activities), prior art sports bras may not provide adequate separation of the breasts to reduce movement and prevent stretching/sagging of the skin that may occur by contact of the breasts with one another from gravity and the weight of the breasts through not enough support from the bra. The present invention arose in a bid to provide an improved sports bra providing enhanced separation and support of the breasts.

According to the present invention in a first aspect, there is provided a brassiere comprising an outer layer comprising a back portion and a front portion coupled to the back portion; and a breast separator, wherein the breast separator ' provided inside the outer layer.

Further, preferred, features are presented in the dependent claims.

Non-limiting embodiments will now be described, by way of example only, with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which:

Figure 1 shows a rear view of a brassiere according to a first embodiment of the present invention;

Figure 2 shows a front perspective view of the separator, cups and elastic members separated from the brassiere of Figure 1 ;

Figure 3 shows a front view of the brassiere of Figure 1 ; and

Figure 4 shows a breast separator alone, which is suitable for use in embodiments that omit cups.

With reference to Figures 1 and 3 there is shown a brassiere (bra) 1 , which, in broad terms, comprises an outer layer 2 comprising a back portion 3 and a front portion 4 coupled to the back portion 3, and a breast separator 6. The breast separator 6 is provided inside the outer layer 2.

In the depicted, preferred, arrangement, a pair of cups 5 are further provided inside the outer layer 2. The breast separator 6 is provided between the cups 5. The cups 5 are preferably joined to one another via the breast separator 6. Whilst the description focusses on this preferred arrangement, it should be appreciated that in alternative arrangements the cups 5 may be omitted, or alternatively arranged. For example, the outer layer could itself be suitably arranged to provide support to the breasts without the need for cups 5 or the cups could be attached to the outer layer with or without a separate underwire structure provided, or an underwire structure alone could be provided. Any underwire structure may comprise a pair of curved underwire portions. A breast separator 6 is shown in Figure 4 without cups.

Regardless of the presence of cups 5 or not, it is preferred that the separator is attached to the bra in a base portion of the separator only. That is, it is preferred that at least an upper (projecting) portion, which projects from the attached portion, is detached from a structure of the bra such that it may move substantially

independently of the bra structure, in particular independently of the outer layer. Such attachment of the base portion may be permanent or removable. A permanent attachment is generally preferred, by adhesive, stitching, or similar. However, detachable arrangements using hook and loop fasteners or otherwise will be possible, as readily appreciated by those skilled in the art. Moreover, the breast separator could be integrally formed with the cups or underwire. Whatever the attachment means, the attachment is most preferably to the cups or underwire structure when present, although need not be. It could be to the outer layer in an alternative.

In the depicted arrangement, the cups 5 and the breast separator 6 are preferably formed separately to one another and attached to opposed sides of the breast separator 6 by stitching, gluing or otherwise. For durability and ease of manufacture, stitching is preferred. It should be appreciated, however, as

mentioned, that in alternative arrangements, the breast separator 6 and the cups 5 could be formed together as a single unit. The breast separator 6 most preferably comprises a projecting portion 6a, which extends longitudinally and which projects upward, so as to lie within the wearer's cleavage during use. The projecting portion defines a portion of the breast separator that is not attached to the bra structure (other than through the base portion of the breast separator to which it is attached). In the present, preferred arrangement, the projecting portion 6a projects upward between the cups 5 from the uppermost point X at which the cups 5 join to the breast separator 6. This need not be the case, however. Arrangements may be provided where the cups are otherwise shaped and the breast separator does not project vertically beyond the uppermost point X. In such arrangements, the projecting portion may be defined by cuts, which partially separate the projecting portion from the cups or may simply comprise a portion of the breast separator other than the base of the breast separator. The breast separator in the depicted arrangement may be considered to comprise both the projecting portion 6a and a bridge portion 6b, as seen most clearly in Figure 2, wherein the bridge portion 6b is provided in a base portion of the breast separator. In alternative arrangements, the breast separator 6 may comprise the projecting portion 6a only. This is particularly the case in arrangements that omit the cups 5. The projecting portion 6a and bridge portion 6b are preferably formed together as a single unit when they are both provided. They could, however, be formed separately and in the extreme need not be joined directly to one another. The cups 5 are attached to the bridge portion 6b, which lies below the projecting portion 6a. The projecting portion 6a, by projecting upward beyond the uppermost points of attachment X of the cups 5 to the breast separator 6, may be suitably located in the cleavage between a wearer's breasts in use, to thereby ensure adequate separation between the breasts.

The distance the projecting portion 6a projects may be varied in dependence on the cup size of the bra, the positioning of the breast separator when used without cups, or otherwise. The invention is not to be limited in this regard. The projecting portion 6a may, for example, project by any distance (or any sub range of distances) between 2cm and 10cm in dependence on the specific form of the bra. It has, however been found that projecting portion having a projecting distance of 4cm or more is particularly effective.

A preferred form of the separator 6 is shown in Figures 2 and 4, with the separator in Figure 2 attached to cups and the separator in Figure 4 independent of any cups. Various preferred features of the breast separator will now be discussed on the basis of these figures. It is to be noted, however, that such features may be implemented in breast separators according to any of the alternatives described herein, they are not limited to the depicted arrangement. As may be seen, the thickness of the projecting portion 6a (in a front back direction related to the wearer in use) increases as it projects upward. The thickness of the projecting portion preferably increases continuously from its base (at the uppermost point of attachment X of the cups 5 to the separator 6 in the arrangement of Figure 2, or as otherwise defined in accordance with the discussion above) to its tip. As may also be seen, the width of the projecting portion 6a (perpendicular to the front back direction) decreases as it projects upward. The width of the projecting portion preferably decreases continuously from its base to its tip. The sides of the protecting portion are most preferably curved, as shown. The curve is gentle with the projecting portion defining a steep sided substantially triangular or wedge-shaped member.

It should be appreciated that in alternative arrangements, the form of the projecting portion 6a may be varied. As will be appreciated by those skilled in the art, alternative forms will be useful for providing suitable separation between the breasts whilst also providing a discrete unobtrusive addition to the bra that is not visible or at least only minimally visible from the outside. For example, the thickness could be constant, or could vary to a point and then remain constant, or could increase and decrease over the length of the projecting portion (along the projecting direction); and/or the width could be constant, or could decrease to a point and then remain constant or could decrease and increase over the length of the projecting portion, or could taper rather than curving.

In the arrangement shown in Figure 2 the breast separator 6 is of

continuous/unitary form, wherein the curvature of the sides of the breast separator 6 becomes shallower (i.e. the radius of curvature increases) to follow the curvature of the inner side edge of each of the cups that are attached thereto; and wherein the thickness of the breast separator as a whole gradually decreases from its tip to its base (at the lowermost point of attachment to the cups 5). In alternative

arrangements, the projecting portion 6a and/or the bridge portion 6b may take a different form, as will be readily appreciated by those skilled in the art.

The breast separator 6 is most preferably formed from a resilient material. It is most preferably formed from moderate to high density foam. The foam is preferably covered in a fabric. One or more reinforcing elements may be provided, for example, in the form or boning or wires. They may be embedded in the foam or attached to a surface thereof. Numerous suitable foams and alternative materials will be envisaged by those skilled in the art. The material is not critical so long as the breast separator may sufficiently keep its form to separate the breasts of the wearer without causing any undue discomfort. The breast separator could alternatively be formed from any of silicone, gel or plastics materials, for example.

The cups 5 may take any suitable conventional form. They may be of moulded form and are most preferably boned/underwired to provide the bra with suitable form and support. The cups 5 are self-supporting.

Means may be provided for pulling the cups 5 and/or breast separator 6 against the body of the wearer (with such means provided in addition to the outer layer 2/bra body itself). Such means in the present arrangement comprise elastic members, which most preferably take the form of band-like elastic members.

As seen in Figures 1 and 2 a pair of elastic members 7 are attached at their proximal ends to the projecting portion 6a. They may be removably attached or may be fixedly attached. They are preferably removably attached such that their use is optional. The elastic members 7 extend outward from opposed sides of the breast separator 6 and are attached to the outer layer 2 at their distal ends. The elastic members each extend above a respective one of the cups 5 at an oblique angle to the projecting direction of the projecting portion 6a. The elastic members 7 are provided with fastening means 8 at their distal ends for attachment to the outer layer. The fastening means 8 most preferably comprise hooks that are variably engageable with suitable tracks 9 for adjustable attachment of the distal ends of the elastic members 7 to the outer layer 2. It should be appreciated that alternative attachment means could, however, be implemented, including, for example, hook and loop fastening means, or otherwise. In some arrangements, although less preferable, the distal ends could be immovably attached to the outer layer 2 by stitching or otherwise. As may be seen, the distal ends of the elastic members 7 preferably attach to the outer layer adjacent an intersection between cup panels 10 and shoulder straps 1 1 of the outer layer 2. The elastic members 7 may have a higher elastic modulus than the outer layer 2 itself. The elastic members 7 act to pull the tip of the breast separator 6 against the body of the wearer.

As seen in Figure 1 a pair of further elastic members 12 is provided. Each of the further elastic members 12 is attached at a proximal end to a lower portion of a respective one of the cups and extends generally transversely outward from the respective cup with its distal end attached to the outer layer. The further elastic members 12 are operable to apply a contractive force to pull the base portion of the cups/breast separator against the wearer's body. The further elastic members 12 have a higher elastic modulus than the outer layer 2 itself. In the present

arrangement, the distal ends of the further elastic members 12 are fixed to the outer layer 2 by stitching. The distal ends could alternatively be provided with adjustable fastening means similar to those discussed above. Where no cups are provided, the further elastic members 12 may instead attach to the breast separator 6 itself in a base portion thereof. The further elastic members may be removably attached at either or both of their ends or may be omitted entirely.

It should be appreciated that whilst both the elastic members 7 and further elastic members 12 are present in the depicted embodiment, there may be arrangements where only the elastic members 7 or only the further elastic members 12 are provided. In further arrangements both the elastic members 7 and further elastic members 12 may be omitted. Moreover, alternative means for pulling the cups and/or breast separator against the wearer's body may be implemented, in dependence on the structure of the outer layer 2. Finally these features may be implemented in any of the alternative arrangements discussed above, they are not limited to use in the depicted arrangement.

It should be noted that the outer layer 2 may be formed from one or more separate pieces of material. Most preferably, a plurality of material panels will be joined to form a bra having the desired shape. The outer layer may itself be formed from several separate layers. The material of the outer layer may be stretchable or may be rendered stretchable by any suitable arrangement of elastic members in strand or belt form, or otherwise. Additional layers may be provided inside the outer layer.

In the present arrangement, the outer layer 2 defines a bra body having the front portion 4 and the back portion 3. The back portion 3 defines four straps 13 that are joined to one another by a suitable clasp mechanism 14. A bottom strap 15 is further optionally provided.

Whilst the bra is shown to be of the openable type, it could equally be of the closed type (without any fastener), the bra being pulled on over the head of the wearer. Moreover, it could be of the form that is openable at the front as opposed to at the back.

Finally, it should be noted that the present invention may find application in a range of bras, not just sports bras.