I like, how it is done in Star Wars - The Old Republic : have a slot for the stats and then wear, whatever you like. Would be a nice feature in this game too.
Amazing option, truly, only super ''gamey'', it's like, instead of actual loot you find stat boosts.
No you get armor for your class with the right stats, but you have a second slot option for the armor others see on you - so your jedi can look like a smuggler or your smuggler can have heavy armor on, but still have the right stats for them in another slot. It's basically a utility armor slot and a aestethic one - I find this the most elegant solution tbh. You can look like whatever you want and still have the stats you need.
This for example is a force user outfit, but I'm wearing it on my Rattataki agent, because I love the steampunky look:
"We are all stories in the end. Just make it a good one."