Some priests wear the stole and the alb, some just the stole, and some neither. Just wondering about its history and function.
I don’t know the history of the stole or alb - but:
The stole is the sign of the priest’s office, he should wear it whenever he preforms any priestly function (decons wear the stole as well but over one shoulder). The alb is worn basically to cover their clothing, separating them from secular functions; anyone preforming a liturgical function can wear the alb, even a reader (though readers usually don’t). EMHC should wear an alb; yea, I know many don’t!
According to a website stole probably developed from a secular garment into a symbol of priestly office which was generally used by the 9th century and commended by Synod of Mainz to be worn at all times.
The origin the stole is unclear. Like many vestments used in liturgy, however, it probably began as a secular practical garment. In the early years of the Christian era, the Greeks wore a long garment called a stola. A similar type of garment was also worn by distinguished Roma citizens as a sign of public honour.
The first evidence of the stole being worn by clergy comes from Spain in the 6th century. By the 9th century, the practice was in general use in the West and the Synod of Mainz in 813 stipulated that priests must always wear a stole as a sign of their calling.