Since there's no way to actually know what a piece of gear will look like before you upgrade it, some of the gear turns into something significantly altered from the original appearance. For example, the Galloglach armor starts out looking really nice and practical with the second appearance also reflecting the original appearance, with silver trim and darker colors, nice for sneaking around. Then the third appearance of the Galloglach armor is an absolute mess, it turns blue and gold with super gaudy accents and a massive "shoulder adornment" (it's definitely not a shoulder pad because it's sitting on top of the cloak...) that looks like fantasy MMO equipment. If I had known what it looked like beforehand, I would have just kept it at tier 2 instead of ever upgrading it because the upgrade isn't worth how terrible and different it looks. And now, since there's no way to get a second set of the same armor, I'm stuck looking like the "max level gear preview" from MMO character creation screens.
Some of the armor designs are extremely tacky and ugly even though their lower tiers look great. We should be able to use those lower tier armor appearances on our gear if we want to, and the game already demonstrates that it can be done by allowing you to use any appearance for your Jomsvikings. Just put it in the game, it needs it.