Entrepreneur Sara Blakely, the inventor of Spanx undergarments, has earned a place in the Forbes list of billionaires. Her body-smoothing panty inventions are the subject of three U.S. patents and the foundation of a billion-dollar company.
As described in the Forbes cover story, Ms. Blakely worked tirelessly to get her company got off the ground, even researching and writing her own patent application.
She spent seven nights straight at the Georgia Tech library researching every hosiery patent ever filed. . . . To save $3,000 in legal fees she wrote her own patent from a Barnes & Noble textbook.
Her first (6,276,176) and second (6,463,765) patents describe an undergarment with a control top (5) that transitions seamlessly to leg portions (3,4) made of a relatively thin, sheer material, thus eliminating panty lines.
Her third patent (7,024,892) eliminates leg bands by making the leg portions out of a double-layer tube folded in on itself. This way, each leg portion ends in a smooth fold (24) instead of an uncomfortable leg band.
So panty lines and leg bands have been eliminated, but what about another problem described in the patents?
[T]raditional underwear can become easily misplaced, causing discomfort to the wearer.
Unfortunately, misplacing one's underwear is likely to remain as uncomfortable as ever.