Thanks again hunters, I'm definitely going to try some of those suggestions.
To clarify - the instructors at the VA hunter's skills weekend class had a lot more tact and professionalism than I made them out to sound. They gave their disclaimers and didn't slam a particular brand or store - their main message on that issue was to not thoughtlessly purchase poor gear and let the almighty dollar be the bottom line when it comes to functional clothes. Most of us had not hunted / not hunted long and a good percentage of us were looking to hunt on public lands since we have no family connections. Yes, you nailed it - there was a survival course offered, and map/compass classes, etc... Also these instructors (who were very knowledgeable) were dedicated and knew they were going to hunt for many more years to come. Hence they didn't mind looking for gear that would last a decade or more. I just didn't feel like writing a disclaimer about their disclaimer so I paraphrased.
Oh, I just thought of something.
What material is recommended as the final outer layer? Don't be afraid to offer any specific suggestions - I always appreciate a starting point.