WELL THAT HAPPENED: The dress that will live in infamy

By on March 11, 2015
Color scheme and perception fuel worldwide argument at #dressgate. (Photo credit: Cecilia Bleasdale)

Color scheme and perception fuel worldwide argument at #dressgate. (Photo credit: Cecilia Bleasdale)

On February 26, an overexposed photograph of the “Lace Bodycon Dress” from the retailer Roman Originals began circulating around the Internet. Despite being manufactured with blue and black fabric, the overexposed condition of the photograph made some see white and gold rather than the original colors. This sparked #dressgate, a worldwide argument over which color scheme was showcased in the picture.

Our world has not been the same since.

Thankfully, in the face of this crisis, celebrities began chiming in on Twitter, adding their voices to the discussion. Who better than to solve a dress dispute than people who wear new dresses for every single public appearance? But even the experts were baffled by the optical illusion.

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

The argument divided offices, destroyed friendships and even entered the homes of our most beloved American couples.

“What color is that dress? I see white & gold. Kanye sees black & blue, who is color blind?” Kim Kardashian asked her fans.

If we couldn’t get a solid answer from our most beloved award show idols, then who could solve this mysterious debate? Former chairman of the Colour Group of Great Britain, Andrew Hanson, who does not wear dresses for a living, attempted to solve the problem.

“We all have memory colours,” he said in his accent. “We know that bananas are yellow for example. Similarly we know that shadows should be blue. It’s nothing to do with colour blindness, it’s all to do with colour perception. Essentially it’s an illusion, but people who see white, are actually seeing white, even though it’s not really there.”

Whatever, former chairman. It’s clearly white and gold.

Despite this phenomena making landfall two weeks ago, there are still a number of articles being released that touch upon the discussion (like this one). Some people, including Christian blogger Cindy Grant, are capitalizing on the attention to push their own message.

“#dressgate is a timely demonstration of a message I hope to spread,” she writes. “As a Christian who grew up between cultures … I cannot stress enough how differently all of us perceive reality … Help me try to see your colors.”

Loud audible groan.

The Salvation Army recently released ads of a woman wearing a white and gold dress with bruises all over her body. The ad asks: “Why is it so hard to see black and blue?” The image has sparked some controversy from male rights activists (“Men can be abused too!”) and racially sensitive individuals (“Because the victim isn’t always a white woman with gold hair!”), but also from people furious that the ad took its own stance on #dressgate.

“They don’t even make that dress in white and gold! Where did the Salvation Army even get it?” asked one commenter, who added: #photoshop.

Through all the controversy, it’s comforting to know that 63 percent of Buzzfeed readers see white and gold. I am not alone. After two whole weeks of sleepless nights, navel gazing and staring out of windows shaking our heads, it’s clear many of us are still reeling. And because of the stupid people who insist that the dress is blue and black, we may never heal from this vitriolic attack on our nation.

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