Gun first. It's the most important part after eye protection. Those two things are really the only true essentials.
Manufacturer is generally more important then the style. Generally all airsoft aeg's work the same so how it looks like outside is up to you. Though the advice in the Airsoft Newbie Buying Guide about styles is good. Generally ak47, m16/m4 or mp5 are good starter gun styles due to the availability of accessories and upgrades.
For $200, the best you could manage is Aftermath stuff. Both the Broxa (full stock MP5) and the Kraken (AK47) are decent bargain basement guns, about $160 or so each. Stay away from Aftermath's Kirenex or Knight (both M4 variants) and the Lycaon (collapsible stock MP5) though, not a good rep.
If you're willing to go up to $300 you could get a JG. Yeah JG's are China clones but they're getting quite respectable nowadays. You could get a G&G for about $350. G&G is the cheapest of the midgrade guns. $400-$450 would get you an ICS which is a higher end midgrade gun. $450-$550 would get you a G&P, there's some debate on whether this is the highest of the midgrade guns or the lowest of the higrade guns. Either way they make nice guns.
As several people have already stated if you can afford it highgrade guns such as Tokyo Marui or Classic Army are the way to go. They're going to run you $600-$700.
I'm a Classic Army man generally but for an AK47 TM is probably the way to go, get a metal body and wood kit (I recommend the G&P for both, good quality) and you'll have a rock solid gun inside and out. Normally I wouldn't recommend doing even external upgrades to a newbie but working with an AK is dead easy. Though CA does make a nice AK from what I've heard. It'd come with a metal body and I think a wood kit but don't quote me on the wood kit. You could get a CA AK for about $600. A TM goes for about $475 or so, but the wood kit and metal body would run you another $250 or so. Several people have recommended the Real Sword Type 56. While I've never had the chance to handle one I have heard they are very nice guns, rock solid. You can get one of those for $700-$800.
One of the perks of going with an AK is that mags are dead easy to come by and dirt cheap. You can get Star brand mags for like $5 a mag or less, plastic yeah but sturdy none the less (Star is also the only brand that makes realcaps too). Metal mags will run you a fair bit more, $15 to $30 a mag. There's no real reason to go with metal over plastic for mags except looks/realism. Though of course if you're going to go hicap then you might as well get metal ones. As to Brands, TM and CA make good mags. I've heard pretty decent stuff about MAG brand mags as well. King Arms not so much. Star is always a good affordable fallback too.
Some people say you need to shell out for batteries, mags, camo, chargers and ammo in the begining. Most of that isn't necessary right off the hop. The stock battery will do you for awhile. Most of the guns come with a hicap (high capacity (300-600 rounds)) mag that will also do for awhile. I do agree that a good charger would be a sound initial investment, but not a total requirement, especially if you plan to get a good battery down the road and don't care if the cheap wall charger fries your stock battery. Camo isn't really required in the beginning either, just some dark clothes. Ammo, yeah obviously a requirement but even good ammo (BB Bastard) only costs $10 for two thousand rounds.
So truely, all you really need to start is the gun and a bag or two of ammo (and eye protection of course - about $50). That said, if you can afford it then it all helps: Camo would cost about $100, a chest rig or vest would cost another $100-$150. A good loadout of mags, even the cheap Star mags, are going to cost at least $50. A good charger is at least another $50, with another $50 for a good battery. Water carrier of some sort, $30-$50. $30 for some kneepads, which are a very sound investment. Say another $50-$70 or so in misc web gear like a belt and a couple of droplegs, etc. Maybe another $30 for a dump pouch. A sidearm is another thing that people like to have but isn't really necessary. A decent sidearm would cost you between $250 and $350. A lot of emphasis is being put on boots, I don't really agree. Yeah, you definitely need boots, not running shoes or anything like that, but a basic pair of $50 hikers would do just fine. It's not like you're doing long marches or patrols or anything.
So in summary, a good total for a basic complete loadout would be about ~$1400, ~$1700 if you want to add a sidearm to that.