Dude, just use whatever you think looks best. If you go purely by stats then you'll just look like everyone else. I use the Favor set and it's pretty middling compared to most unique armor sets. But that doesn't matter and I don't mind sacrificing the twinkling titanite to make it a little bit better.
All and all, look how you want and don't worry about stats. As long as you play smart you shouldn't die anyway.
I managed to farm the 40 twinkling titanite for my paladin armor set (I still have nightmares) and it ended up about as strong as Havel's armor. If you want to spend the time farming the titanite I'm pretty sure the black iron set could get up to some pretty crazy defense stats.
I use black iron on my str character with elite knight gloves, and its pretty good. It weighs less than smoughs and havels while still having a good amount of poise. You will get quite a few twinkling titanites every play through so if you are going to do a ng and ng+ it should not be to hard to almost max out. I say go for it.