Why does colour of dress inside and outside the showroom differ?« Back to Questions List

You might have often noticed that the colour of the dress you selected inside the showroom is not the same in sunlight. Why?  

Inside of textile showrooms and changing rooms are lit by fluorescent tubes or incandescent light bulbs. The source of light we see in nature is sun. All the three lights are considered white light for general purposes. But light from each source is made of combinations of different wavelengths or colours. The difference becomes observable only on close scrutiny.  

Light, showroom, sun, dress, colour, fluorescent, incandescent, natural, warm, cold, colour temperature, reflected, light spectrum, brain.

The term used by scientists to differentiate different light sources is ‘colour temperature’. But for all common purposes, we use the term temperature. Generally,  light from sun is considered neutral, that of fluorescent light cold and light of incandescent bulbs warm. 

We see an object when the light reflected by the object reaches the retina of the eye. The light from different sources has different combinations or wavelengths. The light spectrum reflected by the cloth that reaches the eye varies depending on the source of the light. In the selection of dress colour has a very important role. Slight colour variations are balanced out by the brain irrespective of the source of light. But when the reflected light spectrum originated by the sun varies very much compared to that from the   source of fluorescent light or incandescent bulb, difference in colour becomes obvious. 
 

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