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White & Gold Or Blue & Black? Debate Over Dress Color Rages On

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) -- It's the dress that's beating the Internet black and blue. Or should that be gold and white?

Friends and co-workers worldwide are debating the true hues of a royal blue dress with black lace that, to many an eye, transforms in one photograph into gold and white.

"It's definitely blue," one man told 1010 WINS' Mona Rivera.

"I think it's white and gold," another man said.

"It looked white and gold, now it looks blue and black," one man told CBS'2 Ilana Gold.

Dress Debate Continues: White And Gold, Or Blue And Black?

Celebrities, including Taylor Swift and Demi Lovato, also weighed in on the color controversy.

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.

Dr. Reega Garg, an ophthalmologist at Mt. Sinai, said we're highly sensitive to the color blue and the cells in our eyes cause people to interpret the picture differently. She adds the black stripe can also throw off the color.

"It really has to do with the interesting wiring inside our eyes and the combination of how the cells work together," she told Gold.

Your interpretation depends on the contrast of your screen.

"You might even change the settings on your screen and see two different colors," Garg said.

Psychology also plays a role in the opinions.

"I think it comes from the fact that people need to argue and they need to express their opinion and they need to feel I'm right and you're wrong," psychiatrist Dr. Judy Kuriansky told CBS2's Ilana Gold.

The English dress retailer, Roman Originals, told Mashable the company sold out of the item within minutes of the photo's worldwide distribution Thursday night.

It all started when a woman — identified in multiple published reports as singer Caitlin McNeill of the Hebrides Islands offshore from Scotland — posted the image on Tumblr Wednesday with the question, "Is this dress white and gold, or blue and black?"

"It's a great surprise for us because we produce a royal blue dress, and suddenly when you look at it on the screen, it sometimes shows ivory and gold, and sometimes royal blue and black, so it's an enigma," designer Michele Bastock said.


"I think it's quite odd that this has blown up on the Internet," a man said.

"It's crazy that people are tweeting about this dress," another man said.

The dress sells for £50 ($77) and is also available in white and black, red and black, and pink and black. The retailer is considering creating a white and gold version.

(TM and © Copyright 2015 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2015 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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