Check the regs on blaze orange; I think it's actually 200 sq.in. PA regs changed a few years ago, so a hat alone is insufficient. Don't know if you can wear the vest without the hat. I wear both in PA regardless, and in NY where no blaze orange is required.
No, you don't need all the fancy, expensive camo stuff. It's cool, and if you can afford it and want it, go for it. Different take if you are bow hunting, though. There camo and scent are much more significant. But even there, I don't think you need scent-lock garments. Just wash with a scent-killing deoderant soap, and launder your hunting stuff the same way . . . and then don't smoke around it, hang it in the kitchen, or spill gasoline on it when driving out!
Advice on layering is good. Over a typical day, temperatures may range dramatically. Also agree with avoiding cotton if wet weather threatens. On really cold days, I wear wool/poly thermal underwear, wool pants, wool shirt, wool sweater, down vest, then cover everything with insulated bib overalls and jacket. The bibs and jacket, and sometimes the vest, get rolled up and tied to my day pack when hiking in. You want to avoid working up a sweat getting in to your stand.
If you're a stand hunter (tree stand or ground blind) and plan to sit still for long periods, do invest in some good rubber soled pack boots. Mine are a half size larger than I usually wear for extra layering of polypro and wool socks. And take an extra pair (or two) of dry socks. If my feet get sweaty walking in, I pull the boots and change into the dry socks. Another trick I picked up is using a scent-free stick deoderant on my feet in the morning; it keeps the feet from sweating as much. The inexpensive chemical foot warmers work too (get the foot warmers and not hand warmers for your feet, as they are designed to use in boots, where air is more restricted).
I carry lightweight and insulated pairs of gloves, and change as needed.
Bottom line: It ain't fancy gear that gets your deer. You need skill and patience. It's easier to be patient if you are warm and comfortable. Layering lets you adjust to changing conditions. But the layers don't have to be high tech, new-fangled, super-blend-in, six-color, leafy-tree-patterned camo. I had a deer walk right up to within six feet of me in Potter County, PA, trying to figure out what I was. I was dressed in complete blaze orange from head to toe, plus a spand-o-flage head net and sunglasses. Doe didn't smell me, and I didn't move, and she finally wandered off.
So start off cheap, but start off smart.
[This message has been edited by Legionnaire (edited October 05, 2000).]