At the tail end of this encumbrance system, Logan Knight included this bonus optional rule, called wardrobe malfunction:
If you are hit in combat you can choose to sacrifice a Significant Item or other piece of equipment before damage is rolled. If you can explain how the attack removed or destroyed that item instead of injuring you, it happened.
As he writes, it’s like shields will be splintered, but for everyone. Personally, I don’t care for shields will be splintered (for a number of reasons that are not relevant to the purpose of this post), but this did give me an idea for a variant wardrobe malfunction rule.
In my game, there are no negative HP. Rather, when reduced to zero HP, a saving throw is required, with failure indicating death and success indicating unconsciousness. Rather than make unconsciousness always the cost of success, there could be a chance of an item taking the brunt of the almost fatal blow, allowing the character to remain conscious at 1 HP. This chance could be 50/50 (potentially requiring another die roll) or maybe occur on a natural saving throw roll of something like 19 or 20 (10% chance seems about right for this).
This does add a little bit of complication to a rule that I value primarily for its lethal simplicity. And such complications pave the way to death and dismemberment charts (which, to be clear, I also enjoy using sometimes). That said, the variation added by this additional potential outcome (lose a randomly determined item but stay conscious) might be worth a slight increase in complexity.