The Stole is a liturgical vestment of the Catholic Church as well as other Christian churches. It consists of a band of colored cloth, formerly usually of silk, about seven and a half to nine feet long and three to four inches wide, whose ends may be straight or may broaden out. The center of the stole is worn around the back of the neck and the two ends hang down parallel to each other in front, either attached to each other or hanging loose. The stole is almost always decorated in some way, usually with a cross or some other significant religious design. It is often decorated with contrasting galloons (ornamental trim) and fringe is usually applied to the ends of the stole following Numbers 15:38-39. A piece of white linen or lace may be stitched onto the back of the collar as a sweat guard which can be replaced more cheaply than buying a new stole.
The word stole derives via the Latin stola, from the Greek στολή (stolē), "garment", originally "array" or "equipment". The stole was originally a kind of shawl that covered the shoulders and fell down in front of the body; After being adopted by the Church of Rome about the seventh century (the stole having also been adopted in other locales prior to this), the stole became gradually narrower and so richly ornamented that it developed into a mark of dignity. Nowadays, the stole is usually wider and can be made from a wide variety of material.