What's cool to you won't always be what's cool to others.
I completely understand what you mean about XI, but this is a different game with different rules.
I always wanted to wear a Haubergeon in FFXI. I'd see it all over the place, and it just looked really cool to me. It took a good while but I finally got to wear one, and it felt pretty **** good to reach that point.
But, if you want to wear a Haubergeon in FFXIV, you can just buy one, and wear it at level one. It's not going to be any good for you really, but you can do it. Don't even need to be one of the jobs listed on it. You can still wear it. Your Thaumaturge can wear a Hauby if you want.
So...there's nothing to exactly look forward to in that way. You're not going to see a Templar's Haubergeon or whatever and think "Ooh I can't wait until I can wear that!"
You can just go buy it in the Market Wards.
Personally, I don't like most of the gear currently in the game. It absolutely fits the world, I'm not even going to try and deny that. The colors are pretty natural, and the textures are as well. Hemp has a rough look to it compared to smooth and shiny velvet. It's all very realistic in that regard.
It's also rather boring.
There aren't many unique models in the game. They all follow a pretty clear progression for the most part.
Sheepskin>Dodoskin>Leather>Toadskin for Harnesses/Subligar, Jerkins/Cullotes
Hempen/Cotton/Canvas/Velvet/Linen for...my god. Shirts, Doublets, Gowns, Dalmatica, Vests, Robes, Half Robes, Hats, Berets, Sarouel, Kecks, Pants, Tights, etc, etc, etc(my god man, I never really thought about that before).
They all, in a way, just look the same, with slightly different textures and colors.
As for what I do think looks cool
Coatee's(Canvas, Linen, Moth-Eaten etc): On Females.
Vintage Scale Mail
Velveteen Robes(Black and Red)
Doublets(Cotton and Canvas)
There's this Domino mask that drops from some Ant NM, I can't really remember the name, but I thought it looked pretty cool. There's also the Robin Hood type hat with mask included that some Archer NPC's wear. It doesn't seem to exist as gear players can wear right now, but I hope it comes out eventually.
I'd just play and see what you like. Or find a model viewer somewhere. It's not like it's going to cost you a whole lot(nothing) to play.
This used to be pretty fun.