Your choice of protective clothing in Monster Hunter: World matters. In the absence of a traditional levelling system (stat distribution, in the traditional sense, doesn't exist) the survivability of your Hunter rests entirely on what vestments they're dressed in.
A self-described fashionista you may be, strutting your stuff in Elder's Recess with a full ensemble of Low-Rank armour, but the only award you'll be claiming after a night on this catwalk will be for the Squishiest Hunter in Astera.
It's not just raw defence you'll need to keep tabs on, either. Perks, some of which are unique to certain armour sets, are there to complement a myriad of different playstyles. Yes, there is some apparel that provides universal enhancements, but rarely is it the case that one set acts as a catch-all undisputed best of the best. For that reason alone, Hunters looking to min-max their builds will treat World's armoury as a Pick & Mix, but Capcom's not averse to making life for newcomers as pain-free as possible.
Every piece of armour in World has its place, but premium loadouts forged from the remains of Elder Dragons and overgrown canines are the garments you should be shooting for (depending on weapon choice) in the race towards the endgame.