‘What Color Is This Dress?’ drives Internet batty

WASHINGTON – Never change, Internet.

Sometimes something takes off online all on its own, and “What Color Is This Dress?” is one of them.

It started, as near as we can figure, on Tumblr on Wednesday. Now it’s driving people crazy worldwide. Is this dress white with gold bands, or blue with black bands?

Opinions are — well, mixed. Wildly so:

Politicians are arguing (h/t The Hill):

Even the authorities are weighing in:

Now the women behind the photo are letting people know the dress’ story and it’s true color.

Singer Caitlin McNeill, 21, posted the photo on Tumblr and a debate erupted over the dress’ color.

“What happened was two of my close friends were actually getting married and the mother of the bride took a photo of the dress to send to her daughter,” McNeill explained to Business Insider. “When my friend showed the dress to her fiancee, they disagreed on the color.”

The bride then posted the picture on Facebook and her friends continued to debate the color of the dress.

McNeill then decided to share the picture on a fan page she has on Tumblr dedicated to a woman named Sarah Weichel — a talent manager who represents several people made famous through YouTube.

Weichel told Business Insider there’s no question about what color the dress is.

“Black and blue, of course!”

Business Insider also tracked down the online listing for the dress, which describes the frock as “royal blue.”

Roman Originals sells the dress for £50 (about $76). The English dress retailer has reported a million hits on its sales site since the photo’s worldwide distribution Thursday night.

Optometry experts are calling the photo a one-in-a-million shot that perfectly captures how people’s brains perceive color and contrast in dramatically different ways.

Those who subconsciously seek detail in the dress’ many horizontal black lines convert them to a golden hue, while the blue disappears into a blown-out white. Experts say the photo’s exceptionally warm yellow backlighting triggers this alternative perception.


The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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