Didnt read all the posts, so apologies if these 2 points have been covered.
1. Social gear is only really usefull for light armor users. Would love to have the sand people armor on my Juggernaut. An appearance tab would allow everyone to make use of social gear outside of running around the fleet/station with it.
No real opinion on this, as long as they don't do stupid things like make a heavy armor dancer outfit or slave bikini or somesuch.
2. Purple gear at level 50. Whether its the PvP or the PvE (HM and Ops) The main armor mod cannot be removed, so the great system of 1-49 of being able to hunt for and find a set of armor that fits your characters style or that simply you like the look of. Which for me was a brilliant move to allow greater diersity in player appearances.
Then you get to 50 and start collecting HM, Ops, PvP gear and everyone, after a while, will all be equipped the same.
I wouldnt mind as much not having an appearance slot if they made the main mods from lvl 50 purples removable to allow the diversity of appearances that the previous levels allowed. Or add the mods (even if it takes a little more effort overall than buying the present piece) so we can add the mods to the gear we like.
This has been suggested over and over again since they messed up the mod system in beta and will be addressed in patch 1.2 (purples will be fully moddable again, set bonuses transferable, etc).
By allowing us to acquire the same level mods that is in the pve/pvp sets it will also open up the possibilty of adding more level 50 orange, unmodded armor and weapons to the crew skills to give more utility and increase the desiribility for those skills at max level.
Critically crafted orange gear will be the best gear there is come 1.2. I just hope they up the crit chance on crafts/disassembles because right now acquiring critically crafted orange gear is nigh impossible and getting new schematics from disassembling is barely worth the cost.