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How did it come to be that men would wear jeans and pants while women would wear skirts and sarees?

We were not born with our clothes on. There might have been a time very early in the history of Mankind when we were running around naked. We ate naked. We slept naked. We lived naked. Eventually, we shifted from foraging for food to hunting animals. If we take a look around what humanity have achieved over the years, the one thing that strikes me the most is that we have always been resourceful. We are never satisfied and try to make the best out of what we have. The early hunters should have been the same. They would have surely made the best use of those every part of the animals that they hunted. Even the animal hides. Someone must have tried on the animal hide on their body and found that the Animal hide protected themselves in a much better manner against the harsh weather and the elements. They should have found it to be very effective.

Effective became Practical.
Practical became Common.
Common became Culture.

So what was effective then has become Haute-Couture now. It might have been the same for Men's and Women's clothing.

Now back in the ancient times, clothing was not mass produced as it is now. Industrial Revolution and machines were a long way into the future. Clothing was therefore not cheap, but very expensive. In fact in ancient Rome, a pound of fine silk would have been enough to buy yourself a few human beings. So on average a person would own just a few pairs of clothes. The poorer ones would only have the clothes they are currently wearing. Now in such a scenario, clothing would be utilitarian and its practicality would be one of its most important aspects.

So when we discuss how skirts became the clothing for women, we need to remember that practicality would have been one of the most important aspects that led to this decision. A few factors are discussed below:

1. For example, urination for women should have been easier in a skirt than in a pant. They could just lift it up to do the deed when compared to pants which they might have to remove completely.
2. The menstrual cycle should have been another one of the factors. The sanitary napkins were yet to be invented then. And clothing was a precious possession. So owning a pant that could not be used for a few days every month just wouldn't have made any sense.
3. Pregnancy should be another factor. In those days, a family would have multiple children due to many reasons. One of them would be because of the high mortality rate among children before the age of 5. So having many children was a way to ensure that your progeny would survive. The other being the fact that contraceptives were yet to be invented. Now a woman's body shape undergoes a lot of changes during pregnancy and in such a situation owing a pant with a fixed size doesn't make much sense. With limited clothing available, saree or skirts made more sense.

Coming to why men wore pants, practicality would again be the reason.
1. Occupation: Men have to bring food to the table. It was also the age of conquest then when wars were frequent. A clothing like a skirt or a toga which would impede movement wouldn't make a lot of sense in such conditions.
2. Over time, man domesticated animals. They domesticated horses. Riding horses would have been harder would have been easier in pants than in any other kind of clothing.
3. Urination was easier as well in pants.

Over time what was practical became common and what was common became culture, thus leading to the present situation. But it is not like Men don't wear skirts. The Scots were kilts. And in Kerala where I come from as well as parts of South India Lungi/Mundu are clothing that are worn by men. Now Lungi/Mundu have a few advantages over a skirt.

1. Men look much better in a Mundu/Lungi than in a skirt.
2. It is more functional. In a formal situation, like for marriages, visiting religious places, festivals we can wear it at 'full mast'. But for situations where better mobility is required like say, a dog is chasing after you, you only need to fold the lungi above the knees to achieve maximum speed. There are no problems when riding two-wheelers as well. You just need to fold the lungi at the knees.
3. It can act as a blanket at night.
4. Did you know that increase in the temperature of balls can cause a decrease in fertility? But Lungi acts as a life saver. It provides great cooling for the nether regions, especially during those harsh summers.
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