Ok well this is my personal feeling on this subject. I think that you should go to the dojo(s) and see if the hakama does bring ego. If it does then why study there? However by the same token if you go to a dojo and they don't wear hakama and the people wearing black belts have great ego about that then why study there? I think this question is founded in what Aikido seeks to do. For me Aikido is the search for humility and harmony and as you progress in rank you should be more humble. In some way I see the hakama as a test for them. It does set them apart and it is tempting to then say I am better because of this pair of baggie pants that I ware I am different now. But the truth is there is no difference and untimely I think this test is important. The dojo were I study it signifies that you are an instructor or some one who teaches (an assistant instructor). I think the big thing really lies in rank in general. I don't think that ego should accompany rank regardless. I know two very high ranking in two different arts and they are the most truly humble people I have ever met. I hope this helps with your question. To me it is just a pair of pants that look really cool flying through the air. The atmosphere were you want to train is more important find people who want what you do from the art and that is the most important thing.
P.S. Sarah I love the quote it is so Aiki. Funny how you can find Aiki everywhere. I added it to my quote list thanks.
"Did you ever wonder why we had to run for shelter when the promise of a brave new world unfolded beneath the clear blue sky?"