The Riedell Dart and the Rock Flames are great beginner packages. As far as gear goes, I've been super happy with my Triple 8 knee, elbow and wrist guards.
Don't be shy about going to the rink in your gear. For one, you'll skate MUCH more confidently. Two, they are totally used to seeing skaters who skate for sport in whatever gear is required. Three, you'll look adorably derby! I always wear my cute socks, fun tights, skort and team T when I go to public skate sessions.