If you stick to tradition, surely your hakama will touch the floor? (as it should in iaido). Although I also got my hakama altered to ankle level, I don't think they look suitable if you can see your gi bottoms through them (probably the equivalent of a g-string appearing above your hip hugging jeans).
I also agree about centredness and hip stability (also adds weight to lower part of your body and therfore lowers centre of gravity). However, I think we should try to develop this without the use of a hakama. There's the old joke of kung-fu experts having to remove their shoes before they defend themselves - maybe for us we need to put on our hakama?
Floor legth, IMHO is a little bit too long. Granted I've never dealt with Iaido or the likes where such things differ. At ankle length I have to hike the hem of my hakama up quite a bit to even see my trouser legs. I keep the pant legs trimmed to about mid calf length, to eliminate the tripping hazard that they were before.
As to the kung fu anecdote.. well.
Maybe we just like to run around in skirts?