Why Everyone's Arguing About the Blue or White Dress Again

Anyone who was a regular social media user back in 2015 likely remembers where they stood on one of the most contentious internet debates of the time: Was that dress white with gold accents or blue with a black trim?

In a moment that separated groups of celebrities and mere mortals alike into warring factions, millions of people were caught up in the spirited conversation that started on Facebook and infiltrated all major social media platforms.

At the time, a "confused and scared" Taylor Swift declared on Twitter that she saw blue and black when she perused a viral photo of the form-fitting fashion item. Agreeing were the likes of Demi Lovato, Jaden Smith, Justin Bieber, Mindy Kaling and Frankie Muniz.

In the white and gold corner stood a host of other public figures that included Katy Perry, Julianne Moore, Anna Kendrick, Sarah Hyland, and B.J. Novak. Kim Kardashian's home was divided, as she was on Team White and Gold, while her then-husband, Kanye West, pledged allegiance to the Blue and Black Brigade.

Always one to march to the beat of her own sartorial drum, fashion-forward singer and actress Lady Gaga saw "periwinkle and sand" when she looked at the image in question. A number of others saw different colors at different times.

Talking about viral striped dress...again
A dress that went viral on social media in 2015 as people debated its color has sparked a new cross-platform discussion. Getty

Eight years after the debate swept social media, the conversation was revived over the weekend, with social media users posting all-too-familiar photos of the dress and contesting one another's opinions.

"WAIT SNAPCHAT MUST BE GLITCHING BECAUSE THERE'S NO WAY THIS IS BLACK AND BLUE," one person captioned the dress images on Twitter.

Doling out some advice, another person responded: "You gotta scroll up and start looking at the image from the bottom.... [I don't know] how to describe it, but yeah, scroll all the way down to the bottom of your screen (if you're on mobile) and then scroll up to the top, when you get the bottom of the photo you will see it in black and blue."

Another said that "the explanation is really interesting!! It's all [because] of the lighting, long story short the light in this image is dubious—to some people it registers as natural light which makes them see it as white and gold and to others it registers as artificial light and thus black & blue."

Wrote another: "There's a lot of science, [color] theory, lighting, etc. that goes into it. If I just look at the picture, it's white & gold. If I focus a bit, it's a soft lilac-blue & a murky gold. If I make a triangle with my hands to block everything out, it's blue & black."

A host of other Twitter users refused to participate in the debate, with one saying: "This debate is so old I was in high school when it was a thing. I'm 25 now."

Another quipped that "this dress has had more comebacks than Madonna..."

Should anybody have been left wondering in the several years that have passed since the original debate was sparked, the dress is actually blue and black. The issue with color perception stems from the light saturating the image.

While the dress discussion became a global phenomenon, it originated on the small Scottish island of Colonsay, located in the Inner Hebrides.

Ahead of Grace and Keir Johnston's wedding, the bride's mother, Cecilia Bleasdale, took a photo of the dress, made by Roman Originals, with the intention of wearing it to the ceremony. After disagreements about the perceived color of the dress, the image was posted by the bride on Facebook, where a debate was born.

Caitlin McNeill, a friend of the couple, performed with her Scottish folk music group Canach, in Colonsay. While she saw the dress in person and confirmed its color, she later reposted the image on her blog on Tumblr on February 2015, sparking the viral debate that spilled over onto other platforms.

Such was the discourse that the Johnstons cut their honeymoon short to fly out to Los Angeles and make an appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show. The visit proved fruitful, as show sponsors gave the newlyweds $10,000 and a trip to the Caribbean island of Grenada. They also received underwear patterned after the dress.