Originally posted by Chris Li
Well, the policy originally changed because of the cloth shortage after the war, but M. Ueshiba was around and active for at least 15 years after the cloth shortages were gone. If he'd cared much about it he could have changed things at any time, but he never did. That says to me that he either preferred the new way or didn't care enough either way to go through the trouble (probably the latter, I would think).
According to an interview with Saito Sensei, Hakama was always compulsory for all at Iwama during Osensei's life. Even during the war and post-war during material shortage, Aikidoka had to borrow Hakama from their fathers or grand-fathers and came to the dojo sometimes with ceremonial and multicolored Hakama.
But at Hombu Dojo where Osensei had less influence since he was not regularly there, things were changed by Kisshomaru Doshu.