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Level Up Review: Loot Crate's Subscription Service For "Epic Fandom Apparel"

By Kristy Puchko | Miscellaneous | April 7, 2016 |


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Some of my most treasured articles of clothing are my fangirl wear: The Captain America Shrug with floral lace detailing from We Love Fine, the Doctor Who Tardis trench coat from Hot Topic, and Game of Thrones map tank top from Etsy. I like to wear my nerdy heart on my sleeve, but always with an eye toward comfort and style. So Loot Crate’s apparel subscription service, Level Up, had an instant allure.

Truth be told, I’d gone to Loot Crate to begin a subscription for its titular mystery box of geeky goodies, which range from Funko Pop figures to phone cases, books and accessories. But I live in a New York apartment, which means I have a very limited space allowance for tchotchkes. So while these blind boxes have thrilled my similarly geeky friends, I was reluctant. Then I spied the “Epic Fandom Apparel Delivered Monthly” promise of Level Up. Decision made.

How It Works

Befitting its name, Level Up offers various subscription levels. There’s Socks (2 pairs a month starting at $9.99), Accessories (purses, jewelry and scarves, starting at $14.99 a month), T-Shirt (1 a month starting at $8.99), and Wearable (lounge wear, hoodies, polos, etc. starting at $14.99 a month). But there are bonus ways to score discounts.

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You can bundle to get better deals. For instance, Wearable + Socks is $20.99, while Accessories + T-Shirt is $19.99. And subscription sign-up offers 1-month, 3-month, 6-month and 12-month plans, with the longest commitments giving the biggest savings.

So, if you’re in for the long haul, sign up for a full year of Level Up deliveries. (You can click through “Past items” to get a sense of the kind of gear you could get.) If you’d rather play it by ear, wait to discover a month’s given theme before pulling the trigger.

For my first review of Level Up’s goods, I went for the whole shebang, soup to nuts (or socks to shirts!) In advance I knew the theme would be VERSUS, and that it would include gear inspired by Batman V Superman, Captain America: Civil War, and Mario Bros. But how that would shake out was a surprise.

How That Went

LEVEL UP SOCKS: EXCLUSIVE Mario & Bowser Socks & EXCLUSIVE Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. vs Hydra Casual Crew Socks
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I’ll admit, the socks were the bit I was least looking forward to. My socks aren’t bought for fashion but for function, mainly the function of keeping my tiny feet warm and keeping me from slipping around in boots slightly too big for me. But as a long-time Mario Bros. lover, these made me squee. They’re colorful, cozy, and feature a 360 design so wherever you go you got Mario and Bowser ready to brawl. I also adore the VS detail on the foot. And they’re thick! Not the flimsy nonsense of dollar store novelty socks.

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The SHIELD vs HYDRA socks boast an impressively intricate design and comfort cushioning, all the better for athletic endeavors. I’m 5’2” and the socks (sized 8-12) came to my knees. They were comfy, but coveted by my Mister. So they are his because I am the best damn wife.

LEVEL UP WOMEN’S ACCESSORIES: EXCLUSIVE Batman v Superman Bestie Necklace Set
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This one takes me back to my middle school days where me and my gal pals would spend much energy and untold minutes poring over the BFF necklaces at Claire’s Accessories for the “perfect” personification of friendship. This BvS-themed Bestie Necklace is infinitely cooler. It has a solid weight that sets it apart from cheap Forever 21-style necklaces, and its minimal design means they’d be a fun and easy to incorporate accessory for DC fangirls. I just wish they said “Martha” on the back.

EXCLUSIVE Batman/Superman/Wonder Woman Hair Ties
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I was initially underwhelmed by these hair ties. Sure, they’re cute. But I don’t have much luck with hair bands. See, I rock a modified Mohawk, so I mostly clip my hair because there’s not enough to keep most hair bands in check. They move, slide, tug. They’re a pain in the scalp I don’t need. But these little lovelies! I tied the Wonder Woman one around my hair while I was trying on the lot, and forgot about it. Hours later I realized my hair was not in my face and the band was still coolly in place! So these will now be added to my beauty necessities. And I’ll be rocking a ponytail more often. (You’re welcome, world.)

LEVEL UP T-SHIRT: EXCLUSIVE “You Sank My Battleship!” T-Shirt
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You can choose your size and sex to better fit your gear. So, I got a women’s cut tee that fit me to a T! I dig the nostalgia factor and its simple but chic design. And I can’t stress enough how cool I felt rocking my love of board games across my chest. Plus, I appreciate that the fit covered my tummy. Baby-tees that are basically overlong crop tops are not my personal jam. However, it is 100% cotton. So this tee will need to avoid the dryer.

LEVEL UP WEARABLE: EXCLUSIVE Captain America/Iron Man Longsleeve Shirt
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This Captain America: Civil War ran a little big. (Pretty sure it’s unisex.) But it’s 90% cotton, so crazy comfy. Plus the design tugs at my tender Marvel-loving heart! TONY AND CAPASS ARE GOING TO FIGHT, YOU GUYS! I don’t know that I’m emotionally prepared for that. But at least now I have a tee that’s sleeves can wipe away the slurry of tears and smeared mascara that superhero drama is sure to cause.

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Bonus: it’s one clever bit of gear. Look close and you’ll see that you can make out both “Captain America” and “Iron Man” in that text treatment. #swaggoals

Conclusion
I really dug this! The gear is fun, well made and well-thought out. The various items are playful and perfectly suited to adding a bit of fangirl/boy bling to any outfit. The clothes don’t have the flimsy feel of fast-fashion apparel, and Level Up gives fans something special with some style and a bit more sophistication than your standard franchise gear.

As it offers so many subscription options and price ranges to choose from, I’d recommend Level Up to just about any self-proclaimed nerd looking for a bit of fierce flare. The design inspirations come from comics, TV, film and video games, and the products allow you to sneak in a bit of geek pride in your business casual or rock your obsession loud and proud across your chest. And if you get something that’s not your particular bailiwick, the quality’s good enough you can easily re-gift!

April’s Theme is “Quest,” and it promises goodies inspired by Zelda, The Princess Bride, The Goonies, Star Trek and Kingdom Hearts. You’ve still got time to get in on it. You know I will!

Past subscription service reviews include Stitch Fix, Try The World, and Darby Smart.

Kristy Puchko wants to know which subscription service you’d like to see her try next.


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