Who wore it better?
Philip the Good (from the frontispice of Chroniques de Hainaut, 1447-1448) vs Pieter Bladelin (form Roger van der Weyden’s Bladelin Altarpiece, by 1450)
Now, the fashion of 1440 was not all that standardized as it may seem when you look at these two. Bladelin, however, had reasons to be represented in clothing associated with Duke Philip, which were rooted in his - fairly interesting - life story. He came form a burgess family, and not even from one of those high-status patrician one’s. He was, however, an insanely good financier. How good? Enough to be accumulate such wealth to be considered one of the richest men of his time, and to be trusted with control over the finances of the entire Duchy. Despite Bladelin’s not being a noble, Philip also made him the treasurer of the newly-founded Order of the Golden Fleece.
The costume associated with Philip the Good is often seen as an attempt to cover Bladelin’s common background or to highlight his importance at the court of this ruler. We can certainly be sure that Bladelin cared a lot about how he was represented. Why? Well, that town in the background is actually an image of Middleburg, which was founded by Bladelin. It was actually the basis for identifying the donor, since no documents related to the commission of the altarpiece survive.
Now, this is actually just one of interesting aspects of the painting. The composition is fairly paradoxical - a contemporary figure within a historical scene, represented as equal? Is he participating in the scene or is he not? If you’d like to learn more about that, here’s an interesting article by Christopher S. Wood.