So as someone with almost zero IT understanding, do shaders add texture to outfits? So will increasing shader quality reduce flatness?
Shaders are about lighting effects.
What you want is more geometry, or at least bump maps. I´d go for tesselation but that would require a DX11 client. SWTOR is DX9.
TSW for example has DX11, e.g. on a beach with rubble, the rubble is not flat, it´s all geometry and therefore has a 3D effect.