This article is from the Fencing FAQ, by Morgan Burke with numerous contributions by others.
Fencing clothing includes the jacket, pants, sous-plastron
(underarm protector), and socks. Some companies manufacture
unitards (combined jacket and pants). Inexpensive practice gear
is fashioned of synthetics or heavy cotton, but competition
clothing is required to pass an 800 N puncture test. Casual and
beginner fencers can rely on cotton or synthetic jackets, but
should consider using a plastron for extra protection. Track
pants or baseball knickers are also thrifty alternatives to
genuine fencing clothing, although they afford little
Jackets are cut differently for men and women, and also for
right- and left- handers. Ambidextrous (back-zip) jackets are
available, but generally not with homologated fabrics.
Ambidextrous (double-sided) plastrons are available from some
Knee-high sport socks (such as for soccer/football or baseball)
can be purchased from most sporting goods stores. Skin should
not show between the socks and pant legs nor the cuff and glove
of the weapon hand. The trailing hand and back of the head
should be the only areas of exposed skin on the fencer's body.