In the heat of battle, moving quickly and effectively is key. It is hard to move quietly, quickly, and safely without the proper attire. This means tailoring your attire to the environment you are in.
For example, if you were to wear a set of surplus store BDU's, you will have something that will take a decent amount of abuse, but odds are they will not be comfortable. A set full Crye G3s is arguably the most comfortable thing you will have ever worn, but it will set you back almost $300 and will cause frostbite if you wear cryes alone. So let's start simple, from the socks up.
This one is pretty self-explanatory if you have ever done any serious hiking, but if you have not, you will be wondering why I even mention it. The reason it is mentioned, is although your simple cotton sock will do you fine at your average weekend game, but your feet will be sore afterwards. You may get blisters, and you run a significant risk of frostbite in colder climates without the proper kind of socks. If you are in hot weather, wear a sport sock, but not a cotton one. An 80/20 Polyester/wool blend will do you fine. If will keep your feet cool, offer the padding of a wool sock, and pull the moisture away from your feet, thus ending blisters.
In cold weather, the game changes a bit. For starters, unless you have special sock liners, never wear two pairs of socks. Yeah, it may be warm, but the friction will just cause blisters. Your answer to the problem of cold weather is already in this article. Wool, specifically, a 70/30 wool/polyester blend wool. These are thicker than warm weather wool socks, but are warmer and have more padding, not to mention the added bonus of still drawing away moisture.
You should already know by now that wearing shorts to an airsoft game is a bad idea. Although acceptable for CQB, never wear them to an outdoor game. At an outdoor game, you will have to contend with poisonous plants, thorns, parasitic bugs, and various other hazards; so pants are a must.
Just wearing any pants you can find is not enough. Jeans are a nice choice for the budget minded, but if you want to blend in more, spring for a pair of either multicam or Tri-color Bdus. You can usually find them at surplus stores for less than $20, and most can take a beating.
Wearing a shirt is literally the only optional item I have listed, as sometimes you must show off that glistening six-pack to all the other guys on the field. But for those of us who like our abs to be undamaged, shirts are a non-option. With almost every game you play, you will need to wear some kind of base layer; a t-shirt will suffice for warmer climates, but for those who play in the snow, invest in some good thermals. Save the money you would spend on hospital bills and lost time at work. While a Tee will work sometimes by itself, you have two typical choices: the BDU/ACU jacket, and the combat shirt.
The combat shirt is the current, cutting edge of military clothing, combining the breathability of a tee, the durability of a jacket, and the ability to cut costs. They come in a variety of styles, sizes, and patterns. Prices range from a $30 Re-Pro G3 shirt from Emerson, all the way to the ACSGII from Potomac field gear at a whopping cost of $399 new. If you can afford one and are not playing in the snow, this is the route you should go.
(Above) The authors combat shirt, a Potomac ACS Gen II in M81
Cheap, hot, and common would define these staples of surplus stores. They are either button up, or zippered, with Velcro or sewn-on patches, and plenty of other variables to take into account. You can find them at any local surplus store for as low as $3. You can order them larger to fit layers under, or get them in hard to find patterns, like AOR or Rhodesian. They are not as cool 9in either sense of the word) as Combat shirts, but are my go to option when I want to mix it up without braking the bank.
In closing, this only scratches the surface of all the knowledge you can find with time on the forums, this should be enough to help you out in your next game. If you want to learn more, head over to the gear forum, there are tons of posts to read and people who want to talk about the gear, so go ask!
Author Steven 'Chip' Statzer's "A Chip off the Block" is a weekly column dedicated to helping beginner airsoft players become better, and giving veteran players a place to go to brush up on their skills.