Only five years have gone by since the internet turned into a warzone of fierce debate regarding the color of a dress. Some said it was gold and white, while others said it was black and blue. The world was completely divided. But our confusing wounds have healed and we have managed to move on. Now trouble sticks its head up once again as Billie Eilish, the young and talented pop star, stirs up a storm with the imperceptible colors of her new sneakers.
Because of the hues of the photograph and our funny (and sometimes) inconsistent eyes and brains, we couldn’t discern the color of the infamous dress. And now the world can’t seem to tell if Eilish’s shoes really are mint and white. Is it a similar glitch in the matrix? What colors do you see? Let’s get to the bottom of the madness right now.
The Pop Queen’s New Kicks
Following Billie Eilish’s purchase of a new pair of Nike Air More Uptempos, the internet broke down. When she got the shoes (which, by the way, look pretty awesome regardless of the color) she took to social media and made some fun posts. She mentioned their color, or at least the colors she thinks they are: mint and white.
As soon as she uploaded the post showing off her new kicks, she received a torrent of outbursts from fans and followers claiming that the shoes are not mint and white and that in fact, they’re pink and white. People (including Eilish herself) were confused.
One fan wrote, “…Everyone go watch Billie Eilish’s story and try to tell me those shoes are not pink and white what is she smoking.” Another, while surely scratching his head, said, “Every time I look at Billie Eilish’s story those shoes are a different color.”
Well, Eilish spent the entire weekend arguing with fans about the color of her shoes. “I don’t care what you think they look like, I care what they are,” the singer said. She also said that the whole world was gaslighting her, i.e. conspiring to make her question her own psychology. So what’s the verdict? As of now, the jury is still out and no final consensus has been reached.
The Notorious Dress
So what was the deal with the gold and white or black and blue dress? After more than 10 million tweets vehemently contradicted each other about the color, it was clear that something weird was going on. But what exactly was it? And why did everyone disagree on the answer?
There is still no real consensus. When the dress became a phenomenon, two-thirds of BuzzFeed said it was gold and white while the other third said it was blue and black. The most convincing explanation is scientific. Depending on factors like lighting and the eyesight of each individual person, how you perceive colors in some situations may be different than the perception of other people.
Depending on what light shines on an object – natural or artificial – your brain will automatically compensate by subtracting certain light waves. When there’s no natural light, and therefore no blue sky, your brain might compensate by showing preference to blue light waves, resulting in a bias causing you to be more likely to see blue.
So people that were shown the dress while in natural light (or even when they believed the picture was taken in natural light) tended to see the dress in black and blue, rather than white and gold. Maybe there are similar tricks of the brain and lighting for Eilish’s new shoes?