The Dress’ White And Gold, Black And Blue Color Confusion: #TheDress Controversy Settled

The controversy over the white and gold, or black and blue, dress’ color confusion began Thursday night, according to Discovery News, and caused a controversy immediately.

About 26 hours ago, the Tumblr user known as “Swiked” posted a photo of a dress with a question that asked the Tumblr-sphere for help in identifying what color the dress in question really was.

Some who commented to answer the question replied that they saw white and gold, while others replied that they saw black and blue, and still others replied that they saw very different colors. One user known as “kyriolex” noted that it is neither blue and black nor white and gold, but that it is instead, “periwinkle, which is a type of violet.”

According to Inquisitr, Caitlin McNeill posted the original photo to Tumblr, and explained in an interview with Slate that she wore the dress, which caused a disagreement between herself and her fiancée because both saw the dress as different colors.

According to io9, the controversy over the question and the dress colors are “tearing the Internet apart,” but experts had looked at the photo and “Stepped up to explain, scientifically, what color this goddamn dress is.”

Both Gawker and BuzzFeed polled their readers on what they thought the color they saw in the dress. The answers between the two sites are surprisingly consistent.

Gawker reports that 76 percent of its readers believe the dress is white and gold while 34 percent see it as blue and black. BuzzFeed reports that 70 percent of its readers see white and gold, while 30 percent see a blue and black dress.

Blue and Brown #TheDress Via Wired

Using a photo of a blue and gold dress, the staff at Deadspin determined the dress’ hex colors using Photoshop’s eyedropper tool. The results Deadspin reported show the dress is made up of varying degrees of blue and brown – not white and gold.

One explanation, according to Wired, is that each persons’ brain and visual center works differently, which is why each person sees the dress differently. Bevil Conway, a Wellesley College neuroscientist, studies color and how it relates to vision.

The following is according to Conway in an interview with Wired.

“Your visual system is looking at this thing, and you’re trying to discount the chromatic bias of the daylight axis.”

Conway added the following.

“So people either discount the blue side, in which case they end up seeing white and gold, or discount the gold side, in which case they end up with blue and black.”

Wired explained that because humans evolved to see during daylight.

“The brain ‘figures out what color light is bouncing off the thing your eyes are looking at and essentially subtracts that color from the “real” color of the object.’ “

University of Washington’s Jay Neitz, a neuroscientist who studied color vision differences for 30 years sees a white and gold dress, and said he is amazed that this – the white, gold, black blue dress debate – is the “biggest individual differences I’ve ever seen.”

A second explanation is that the colors are simply an optical illusion, according to io9, that uses contrast to create a color that isn’t really there. Along these lines, shadows are often used to create the same types of optical illusions.


Using the lighting and shadows in a particular way can trick the brain into seeing colors that don’t exist.

Some people have even reported seeing the dress in both color versions depending on which picture they are looking at or on which website they see it. One user even reported in the Tumblr notes that they saw a hot dog, but that user is likely just trying to cause trouble as a troll.

According to Mashable, Laura Coleman modeled a black and blue version of the original dress, which, in real life, is a Roman Originals dress.

While it comes in multiple colors including blue and black, Ivory and black, red and black, and pink and black, note, however, that neither the white and gold combination nor the blue and gold combination is available as dress colors.

The only way to create a white and gold version of the dress is by playing with the exposure and lighting, which means the 70 and 76 percent of BuzzFeed and users who said they saw a white and gold dress in the photo couldn’t possibly be right.

What color of the dress are you seeing?

[Photo Composite via Roman Originals, Photo via Wired]