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You cannot equip armour until level 22, but once you get there you can equip the best armour in the game thanks to a Dev mistakenly removing the old "Encumberance" system and never replacing it.
The easiest way to get some decent armour is to run the quest from Mort in Dearic Cantina at /way 444 -2924.
If you want some better armour, find a munitions trader to craft you some, or you can get some from the bazaar as munitions trader tend to sell armour sets inside backbacks, so seach on the vendor location tab with the entire galaxy radial button checked, and expand Misc and Wearable container, then enter "armor" or "armour" into the item name filter.
Crafted armour has a distinct advantage over reward armour in that crafted armour have sockets that you can apply Skill Enhancement Attachments to, these can boost your stats by up to 105 for each piece of armour.
Yup. There are exceptions. Species-specific armor can only be worn by those species, and some species can't wear certain types. The Katarn armor from the Avenging Mort quest, though, can be worn by all species, including Ithorians and Wookies (go figure).
Mandalorian can only be worn by Commandos and Bounty Hunters as I wrote above.
And, finally, factional limitations mean that Imps can't wear Reb and visa versa.
But basically, yeah, anyone can wear any kind. (Jedi can't wear any armor, but they can wear Jedi-specific clothes that have a slight armor component.)