question about envelopes vs weights

To keep it simple I’m making game models and I prefer to use weight properties when I parent character meshes to armatures. The only thing wrong with this is when I want to change the characters armor and parent the armor to the armature the armor is now rigged but the character mesh isnt.
I really dont want to do this with envelopes because theres segments of the meshes that I’m going to have to animate later on that are going to require heavy weight map editing. Thats why I need to figure out a way to change a characters armor while maintaining the child parent relationship between the character mesh and armature.

Any help is appreciated. thanks.