The chain mail/armored kilt is just the best armor within your current budget. Once you have the money get full plate, no question. This is independent of anything else you're doing.
Which feats you get depends on what you're doing.
e.g.1** spoiler omitted **
That's going down the cleave and mobile bulwark feat lines mainly, with a tower shield and an axe.
e.g.2** spoiler omitted **
That's doing TWF with some specialized shield feats. There's not a lot of crossover with the first, just the advanced armor/weapon training options I chose there.
Those aren't the only options by a long shot, but I'm just saying there are a lot of feat chains out there and saying there is a best is a mistake in itself.
If you go down the mobile bulwark feat line then you stick with the tower shield forever. If you want you can start with the dwarven warshields. Switching between the two might be possible somehow but it'd be tricky as hell.
So would, iron will, dodge, and toughness, not be worth taking (they were brought up earlier and acknowledged to be good ideas)? I can take unstoppable to replace hardy to get toughness. Dodge is only 1 ac. My character that died did have a ring of reflection, so if my party gives that to me that could replace dodge. Is Iron Will better to take later?