Half of the battle is being prepared and wearing the right gear that works for you. In this category you will find different types of items that you can wear. A lot of new players or parents shopping for a new airsofter often ask us "what is required for play?" and "do you really need this stuff?". At the very basic level what you actually will need is basic protective gear. Depending on how old you are and where you play, the fields you decide to play on will dictate the required safety gear.
At the very minimal, a legitimate airsoft field will require some sort of full seal eye wear that is properly rated. Full seal means that it fully encloses around your eyes and you should see no gaps of air between your face and the goggles in the region it is covering. Any hint of daylight means a BB could potentially get into your goggles and therefor would not be safe. A proper rating for goggles would be ANSI Z87 which is a safety standard that is established to rate the protective properties of commercial eye wear. Anything unrated would be deemed unsafe and could potentially crack or fragment when struck by a small projectile or debris travelling at a high speed. Everyone's face will be a different shape and size so sometimes you will have to experiment to get the best combination that works for you.
To address many parents questions, are helmets and gloves necessary? No but they are optional. It does hurt to get shot in the head and hands but these will not stop you from playing. Many times people will wear this gear because it looks cool or adds to their immersion into the sport.
Now moving on to chest rigs and plate carriers, people ask why we need these. The most practical answer is to keep your gear accessible as well as safe from getting lost. If you have ever tried to play a game in plain clothes and carried your magazines in a hoodie or jeans pockets, you will quickly learn an expensive lesson when your items get dropped on the field. Another reason people use vests and plate carriers again is to complete a look or add to immersion.
Plate carriers and certain types of chest rigs offer the ability to customize your loadout by utilizing MOLLE loops. MOLLE is a universal mounting style that many companies produce pouches for so that you can arrange your vest to a particular setup to work better with how you run your gun. You have almost infinite ways to customize your gear when using MOLLE type vests.
For the budget minded players or for people who have more simple needs, chest rigs with fixed pouches is often the way to go. Most chest rigs with fixed pouches will have a good amount of pockets for your primary weapons magazines and some general purpose pouches to carry your other mission essential items. People often prefer a chest rig to a plate carrier since armor in airsoft is not a concern like real world use and comfort and lightness is preferred.
With that said, remember gear is always constantly evolving as your needs are. It is beneficial to experiment and change as you play because you will learn more and more what your needs are through experience.