It actually is a very high priority. Identity is incredibly important in an MMO and we're always looking at ways to help players better express themselves and facilitate strengthening that identity.
You list some very thoughtful suggestions, and while I can't promise any of those things will ever happen, we definitely appreciate your feedback and take it seriously.
However, I'm happy to let you know that we do have plans for extra customization coming in the near future. For instance, companions will have all the match to chest options (as well as hide helmet) that a player has, and those settings will store per companion. Obviously some companions won't get the benefit of this feature (i.e. Khem Val, SCORPIO, etc. - anyone who doesn't really wear the armor you give them), but you won't have to stare at multi-colored Aric Jorgan anymore - that's gotta count for something.
I want to share my thanks as well for you taking the time to reply to this thread, it is much appreciated. I am concerned that the focus on character customization seems scattered. Customizing a pet should be very low priority compared to better customization for my playable character.
Again, thanks for the reply!