A fencing kit (for clothing) consists of a weapon-specific mask, a glove, jacket, knickers, and a plastron (underarm protector). For women's events, they are also required to wear a plastic chest protector; for men's events, that piece of equipment is optional. If you are fencing foil, you will also need a lame (the conductive layer worn over the fencing jacket) and a mask with a conductive bib. You should also wear long socks and comfortable shoes with a flat sole; long socks are required for compliance with USA Fencing insurance policies. Fencing shoes exist but aren’t required; a lot of people wear shoes that are used for badminton or volleyball (asics gel shoes are popular for fencing). Finally, you will need the weapon itself and the appropriate body-cords to go with it.
My recommendation to get a complete kit that is easy to access would be to look at the Absolute Fencing Deluxe Starter Kits for epee or foil. The absolute fencing gear set is a good starter set and probably the most common place that fencers start:
These starter sets can provide all the required clothing and include a weapon, a body cord, and a bag to transport it all. For sizing, click on the sizing guide and just take those measurements carefully at home. Pay special attention to the box about jacket sizing; for jackets at absolute, you measure the chest and then add a specific number of inches based on the type of fabric; the jacket in the deluxe kit is nylon/stretchy. The chart has all the needed measures for the mask, glove, and all the other bits that need sizing. If it is confusing, ask an experienced parent or coach for help. If you have been borrowing kit at the club, take a look to see whether the sizing is still visible inside it as that can also be a helpful reference.
For the weapon, first determine from Coach whether you are fencing with French grip or Pistol grip. If you are fencing with pistol grip (common for foil and for many epee fencers), pistol grip is commonly listed as Visconti in drop-down menus. Fencers who are fencing in Y10 events require #2 blades. For older fencers, select the longer #5 blade. The #5 blade is about 3” longer than the #2 blade, so it is quite a bit heavier to wield. Some fencers compete in both Y12 and Y10 at the same time and may need multiple weapons with different sized blades, but this won’t be needed at the beginning.
When you obtain a brand-new blade, it is a good idea to work with it for a bit prior to bouting with it. Extending it (properly as you would do in practice/lessons) against a firm surface (like the target boards on the wall at the club or a pillow in front of a firm surface at home if allowed) many times can induce a subtle curve in the blade downward; you can see this on most well-used fencing blades. Inducing this curve before bouting can help prevent your blade from getting dramatically bent or kinked in your first few days with it, which is common for beginners who can’t always control their distance and bodies as well as more advanced fencers.
When a fencer decides to go to competitions, they are then required to have 2 working weapons and 2 body cords. At the time that one gets to this level, they may want to get an upgraded second weapon as there are some more customizable features, but this adds a bit to the cost. Some advanced blades are certified by FIE (the international fencing committee); these blades are generally extremely well made and durable. If you are buying an upgraded weapon, Coach often likes weapons from Blaise Freres (BF) and tends to recommend a blade that is stiffer (“D” rather than “M”), Upgraded masks are also available and often have a bit more padding; a popular upgraded mask includes the Leon Paul X-change mask which has a bib that you can remove to make washing it easy.
If you have questions about equipment, it can be fun to talk to other fencers about what they are using or have used and what they like and don’t like. Many of the families have been to competitions, so they can often answer quite a few questions about equipment. Coach is of course always the ultimate resource so don’t hesitate to clarify before you purchase.
Hopefully your new equipment will bring you many successful touches; if not, there’s always a new blade waiting to be bought or built. :-)