Is this dress blue and black or white and gold?

Taylor Swift, Mindy Kaling, Lady Gaga and the ELLE team weigh in on the colour phenomenon as we dig into why the world is divided on the matter

By Andrea Tim | Published: 27 Feb 2015

That Tumblr dress
Photo: Tumblr; Roman

A certain bodycon lace-detail dress has shot to Internet stardom after it started appearing everywhere on social media as netizens hotly debated its colours. Some insist that it is black and blue while others claim they see white and gold.

The dress is in fact a dark blue and black (yes, the rest of you are wrong), pictured above and sold here on fashion retail website Roman. Caitlin McNeill, the person who posted the photo on Tumblr in the first place also confirmed it.

At this point, dress-wearer Taylor Swift is probably a little worried about the priorities of the human race (because really, we're losing it), but has made it clear which side of the fence she is on.

Meanwhile, Mindy Kaling has been very passionate about defending the "objective truth" about the dress – "It's a blue and black dress! Are you f**king kidding me" – and she posted this after a long argument on Twitter...

Lady Gaga, being Lady Gaga, had a unique answer.

Anna Kendrick is already giving us ominous warnings.

Emmy Rossum is taking this more seriously than she (or we) should.

Would it comfort you to know that even Kim Kardashian and Kanye West can't see eye to eye about this?

Colours aside, Lucy Hale has made up her mind about one thing...

As for the rest of us...

Andrea Wong, Editor-in-Chief: "White and beige. That is definitely not gold."

Kate Guest, Editor, "White and gold. Because physics."

Vanessa Palencia, Sub-editor: "White and gold. I don't see any black."

Shahrezzan Ezani, Fashion Editor: "I saw white and gold this morning, and then it became blue and black. But now I think it's blue and grey."

Jamie Khoo, Acting Associate Editor, "Blue and gold." (What?)

Andrea Tim, Writer, "Blue and black. It's just the lighting, you guys!"

Tengku Zai, Beauty Editor: "White and gold. Why are we perpetuating the vicious cycle of this stupid dress?"

Noor Amylia Hilda, Writer: "Hmm..."

Shufri Elfi Mifli, Graphic Designer: "I saw white and gold first, but it's blue and black now."

Verinia Khoo, Editorial Assisant, "White and gold. Wait... blue and gold?"

Florence Song, Fashion Assistant: "The thumbnail looked white and gold, but in full size? Blue and black."

Amber Kwan, Sales Manager: "I think I'm going crazy. It's white and gold. Like, super gold."

It didn't take us long to decide, despite the difference in colour-perception here at ELLE towers, that this has something to do with the way our brains are wired to register colours. Buzzfeed spoke to Dr. Cedar Riener from Randolph-Macon College, who explained the perplexing illusion.

"We are always making decisions about the quantity of light that comes into our retina," Cedar said. "The individual differences tend not to receive as much attention from perceptual researchers, since we focus on how eyes work in general."

That explains the varying opinions about the colour of the dress.

Rockefeller University cognitive neuroscientist John Borghi also told Buzzfeed that what we experience and expect influence what we see afterwards.

"For example, what you looked at just before you looked at the dress could influence the way your brain perceived it," John said. "It could also be that you've seen dresses (or fabric) with the same texture or shape before, which could also affect your perception."

If that's not enough for those who are still curious, let the people at Wired drive you further up the wall with a more complex explanation (with some colour testing involved).


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