Mummy Buzz


Is it Blue? Or White and Gold? The Truth About #TheDress

Yes, your eyes are playing tricks on you

The Internet is polarized, friends. No, it has nothing to do with ISIS. It has nothing to do with Harper or Obama. It's all about a dress. It wasn't the one worn by Monica Lewinsky. It isn't even a designer dress at that.

The “Lace Detail Bodycon Dress” had lips wagging, and even saw the likes of Taylor Swift and Kim Kardashian debating its colour on social media. While some saw it as white and gold, others swore it was black and blue:

“I don’t understand this odd dress debate and I feel like it’s a trick somehow,” tweeted Taylor Swift. “I’m confused and scared. PS it’s OBVIOUSLY BLUE AND BLACK.”

Tangerine Tango

All the while, British retailer Roman Originals Ltd. lapped up the mass media and stayed mum on the subject as the hits mounted up. At one point, #TheDress nabbed the No. 1 trending spot on Twitter. All this over a $96 dress.

Indeed, Taylor was right: all this attention over a high street dress IS scary.

So how is it possible that you see one colour and I see another? Are our eyes deceiving us? The short answer is yes. It has to do with the way we see and process light, and this dress apparently crosses some weird chromatic boundary.

"Without you having to worry about it, your 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," says Jay Neitz, a neuroscientist at the University of Washington.

“Our visual system is supposed to throw away information about the illuminant and extract information about the actual reflectance. But I’ve studied individual differences in color vision for 30 years, and this is one of the biggest individual differences I’ve ever seen.” 

(For the record, like me, Neitz saw white and gold when he looked at the dress, so I feel somewhat vindicated.)

Finally, Roman confirmed that the dress is indeed blue and black and "we should know!” Good luck keeping up with sales now...

There, now that the mighty dress enigma has been solved, feel free to get on with the rest of your day. You're welcome.

Image Source: Tumblr