Rather than seeing this "optimal rank" and "favors" nonsense, I would much rather see gear dependent upon the character's stats themselves. Equipping the gear without the proper stats results in dimished benefits, and penalties to certain stats. For example, if you equip gear that has too high of a STR requirement, you get lesser benefits from it and a DEX penalty.
That would make far more sense than the current system, and it would help let players vary their gear more. A lot of different gear types have comparable stats but very different looks. If we could mix and match without having to be concerned with the favored class, players could give themselves a unique look rather than this army of clones.
Peter pan tights.
You know what I look stupid in? Hempen Tights. I looked up what I could make from Hemp for myself and then I put them on. It looked like I took my pants off instead.
I've got a pair of those on my crafter. I always run off and hide somewhere to craft so no one sees me in them.