Posted by Victoria S Dennis on April 25, 2007
In Reply to: Pants posted by Colleen on April 25, 2007
: Why is the expression - a pair of pants - but you don't have a pair of shirts?
Because in the Middle Ages men's legwear, worn over the linen drawers, consisted of two separate hose (leggings/stockings), fastened individually to the belt. Thus they were genuinely a pair, unlike the shirt which has always been a single garment. The hose didn't finally become a single garment till the very end of the 15th century.
When women took to wearing drawers, they too were originally separate leg-coverings attached to a drawstring round the waist, and didn't become a single garment till well into the 19th century. (VSD)