Black/blue or white/gold? Dress debate goes viral

February 27, 2015

Is the dress black and blue, or white and gold? That question is lighting up the Internet.

It all started when a Tumblr user with the handle 'swiked' uploaded a picture of a dress with the caption: "guys please help me - is this dress white and gold, or blue and black? Me and my friends can't agree..."

And then the Internet blew up.

The post went viral on Twitter, Facebook and other social media platforms, with users passionately split over what color the dress really is—blue with black lace, or white with gold lace.

A BuzzFeed page devoted to the debate had more than 25 million views early Friday, with 72 percent of Internet users insisting the dress was white and gold, while 28 percent swore it was blue and black.

Even the glitterati weighed in.

"What color is that dress? I see white & gold. Kanye sees black & blue, who is color blind?" Kim Kardashian wrote on Twitter, on the debate raging in her household with rapper husband Kanye West.

"I don't understand this odd dress debate and I feel like it's a trick somehow," pop diva Taylor Swift wrote in a message retweeted more than 90,000 times.

"I'm confused and scared. PS it's OBVIOUSLY BLUE AND BLACK."

There may be a scientific explanation for all the madness.

According to British physicist Isaac Newton, color is not inherent to objects. Humans perceive the colors reflected on the surface of objects through light that hits the retina in the back of the eye.

Reena Garg, an assistant professor at the New York Eye and Ear Infirmary of Mount Sinai in New York, said the varied reactions can be explained by how we understand color, noting that the poorly exposed photograph was likely taken with a cell phone camera.

"If you see the dress as black and blue, you're probably seeing the photo as over-exposed, meaning there is too much light, so the colors in the dress appear darker to you after the retina has compensated," Garg told AFP.

"If you see the dress as white and gold, you're probably seeing the photo as under-exposed, meaning there is too little light and the colors in the dress appear lighter to you after the retina has compensated."

On Friday, after the Internet explosion, 'swiked' asked simply: "What have I done?"

Of course, there is an answer to it all.

A description on British manufacturer Roman Originals confirms that the dress is, in fact royal blue with lace, and sells for £50 ($77).

Explore further: Fiber optic dress changes color on a whim

Related Stories

Fiber optic dress changes color on a whim

January 9, 2014
The techno-chic with a few thousand dollars to spare can sport outfits that can change color on a whim.

Dress for success: Research examines male influences on 'looking' middle class

August 18, 2014
They might be called a chip off the old block, but when it comes to upward social mobility, they might call Dad a lesson in what not to wear. University of Cincinnati research takes a new approach to examining the socialization ...

FDA: Ziprasidone can cause rare, serious adverse drug reaction

December 14, 2014
(HealthDay)—The antipsychotic medicine ziprasidone (Geodon) and generic versions of the drug can cause a rare, serious skin reaction that can progress to affect other parts of the body, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration ...

Consumer self-esteem while shopping: Maybe good-looking clerks shouldn't wear the store brands?

August 10, 2011
People who don't feel positive about their appearance are less likely to buy an item they're trying on if they see a good-looking shopper or salesperson wearing the same thing, according to a new study in the Journal of Consumer ...

Holiday magic? Reindeer eyes change from gold to blue at Christmas

December 23, 2013
Rudolph the fictional reindeer was famous for his oddly colored nose, but his true-life cousins have eyes that change color depending on the season.

Does black-and-white advertising help consumers make better decisions?

January 21, 2015
According to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research, black-and-white advertising gets consumers to focus on basic product features while color advertising can influence consumers to pay more for products with unnecessary ...

Recommended for you

Outbreak of preventable eye infection in contact lens wearers

September 21, 2018
A new outbreak of a rare but preventable eye infection that can cause blindness, has been identified in contact lens wearers in a new study led by UCL and Moorfields Eye Hospital researchers.

Newly formed blood vessels may contribute to eye disease

September 14, 2018
Newly formed blood vessels may be cracks in the barrier between the bloodstream and the eye, according to a Northwestern Medicine study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Eye disease can cause blindness, and it's on the rise

August 29, 2018
A new study into recent cases of ocular syphilis warns increasing numbers of people are at risk of permanent damage to their vision.

INSiGHT identifies unique retinal regulatory genes

August 28, 2018
Vision begins in the retina, a light-sensing neural network in the eye that is critical for our ability observe the world around us. Researches at Baylor College of Medicine, Texas Children's Hospital and the Hospital for ...

Alzheimer's one day may be predicted during eye exam

August 23, 2018
It may be possible in the future to screen patients for Alzheimer's disease using an eye exam.

Researchers find potential new gene therapy for blinding disease

August 20, 2018
The last year has seen milestones in the gene therapy field, with FDA approvals to treat cancer and an inherited blinding disorder. New findings from a team led by University of Pennsylvania vision scientists, who have in ...


Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

not rated yet Feb 27, 2015
What a stupid controversy. It all depends on the digital reproduction. Every one I saw up till now was obviously gold not blue. Here it's blue. And a quick sample in photoshop will tell you what color it is.
not rated yet Feb 28, 2015
It all depends on the digital reproduction.

- Everyone has a different monitor, some more washed out than others. Some monitors don't use the standard sRGB color profile in the first place, or their color calibration may be out of whack.

-The embedded ICC profile in the file causes some browsers to render the colors differently, while some browsers ignore the color profile and render the image as is.

If two people are looking at the picture on the same monitor and disagreeing about the color, I would be seriously surprised. I have a standard sRGB calibrated monitor and the exact colors are blue and brown, both visually and with a color picker.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.