The decree of the Congregation of Rites (May 18,1819) says nothing about apparels, but only lays down that the alb must be of white linen or hemp cloth.
There is no definite rule as to the material or character of the ornamentation, and attempts have been made, especially in England, to revive the use of the apparelled alb.
In the Roman Church the alb is now reckoned as one of the vestments proper to the sacrifice of the Mass.
In England at the Reformation the alb went out of use with the other "Mass vestments," and remained out of use in the Church of England until the ritual revival of the 19th century.
Both the alb and its name are derived ultimately from the tunica alba, the white tunic, which formed part of the ordinary dress of Roman citizens under the Empire.