Hoaxes & Rumors

#TheDress Debate Rages on Social Media

#TheDress Debate Rages on Social Media

Debate about the color of a dress raged on social media, perhaps proving that it was an otherwise slow news day.

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The image of a woman’s dress has circulated online this week with an apparent debate as to what color it really is. Is it white with gold lace, or is it blue with black lace? What should be a simple question has sparked debate among netizens this week. Several hashtags have trended, such as #TheDress, #WhiteAndGold, and even #dressgate by those who feel the entire affair is a hoax.


The image appeared on social media this week, with many readers debating it was white and gold or blue and black. While the answer appeared obvious to some readers, not everyone came to the same conclusion – thus the debate over what one may assume to be a simple answer.


The writers at Wired took the image to task and attempted to provide a definitive answer to the hottest question online: What color is The Dress?

After analysis of the color values in the image, it appears that how the viewers see the dress is based on context, interpretation, and even suggestion that it may be a certain color. Thus, blue areas could be seen as white, or white areas could be interpreted as blue as the mind fills in information based on how the viewer interprets the information based on the context of surrounding colors. Those who see the lighter areas of white, for example, could be assuming that the dress is in the shade.

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In their attempt to prove that the dress was white and gold – which is what many of the Wired staff believed it was – eventually that conclusion “didn’t make any sense” based on white-balance adjustment tests. When attempting to reverse the process, however, “It became clear that the appropriate point in the image to balance from is the black point,” Neil Harris of Wired explained.

Wired concluded that the dress is in fact blue.

Eye Test or Wedding Dress?

Twitter user BradTheLadLong took credit for the “experiment,” although his alleged purpose was not made clear. In contrast to the conclusions of Wired, he claimed that the dress is actually white and gold. Although his popular tweet below claimed responsibility, it has since been established that the dress was originally posted on Tumblr by a 21-year old Scottish singer.

Despite the false claim of responsibility, Business Insider reported that 21-year old Caitlin McNeill originally posted the photo of a dress on Tumblr.  McNeill explained, “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. When my friend showed the dress to her fiancé, they disagreed on the color.” After posting the photo online, McNeill found that her friends could not agree on the color of the dress. McNeill stated that it was “obviously” blue and black. On February 27, a photo began circulating on Twitter which appeared to show the same dress as blue and black.  

Bottom Line

#TheDress debate is more about perception and interpretation within context, along with a little suggestion thrown in for good measure. When Wired staff attempted to ascertain the correct color of the dress, they concluded that it was blue. The woman who posted the photo online also stated that it was blue and black.

Some believe that it is just an internet hoax, while to others it is simply an optical illusion.

What color do you think #TheDress is?

What color do you think “The Dress” is? in Polls on LockerDome
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Hoaxes & Rumors

Ashley is a lifelong Las Vegas resident and specializes in social media and pop culture.

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