DIY Riley’s Imaginary Boyfriend Costume Ideas

I'm from Canada
I’m from Canada

The scene-stealing, selfie-taking Riley’s imaginary boyfriend from Disney Pixar’s Inside Out is a quick and easy-to-do last minute idea for Halloween or a cosplay costume.

The nameless imaginary (or ideal) boy friend (IBF) is only in the Inside Out movie from a few minutes total. However, he is a character that Vines are made of—perfect for short scene stealing snippets.

The costume has been a popular one for both genders as a cosplay costume at many of the Disney D23 Expo and Comic Com conventions with Inside Out fans.

Eight weeks ago I posted a pin in our on Pinterest board for the Disney Pixar Inside Out Costume ideas about, Riley’s imaginary boyfriend costume from Disney Pixar’s Inside Out at D23 Expo.

The imaginary or ideal boy friend pin costume has become very popular with over 600 repins and 300 likes in the 8 weeks. Because of the interest of this easy, last minute clever costume I created a board and our DIY IBF costume ideas page.

Who is Riley’s Imaginary Boyfriend?

When Joy, Sadness and Bing Bong enter Imagination Land, they see a boyfriend generator creating the ideal, imaginary boy friend from Riley’s imagination.

This imaginary Canadian ideal crush of 11-year-old Riley, would “Die for Riley!” He has great hair, wears relaxed, stylish clothes and carries a cell phone. All in all he looks to be a super cool, (but perhaps a bit superficial) dude.

To get an idea of Riley’s imaginary crush, watch this YouTube video from a fan who has collected all of the scenes that he is in during the movie. The entire clip is less that a minute and a half long, not much screen time, but this guy was definitely a scene stealer.

One of the biggest “Easter Eggs” in Inside Out is the inspiration for the lanky, shaggy-haired manifestation of Riley’s ideal boyfriend. See if you can figure out who it is. We’ve got more information below.

Riley’s Imaginary Boyfriend Costume

One of the great things about this easy-to-do, clever, either gender-friendly costume is that it is easy to do and can be pulled together at the last minute. All you need are the clothes and a way to make a quote poster. 

The costume supplies and extras needed to make the Riley’s ideal boy crush include:

  • Basic white t-shirt
  • Black twill or dress shirt
  • Dark Skinny Jeans
  • Black high top shoes
  • Hair or Wig
  • Cell phone
  • Attitude & Picture Pose

Identity of the IBF

Have you figured out yet that the imaginary Canadian boyfriend of 11-year-old Riley, who would “Die for Riley!” is based on One Direction’s, Harry Styles. 

Riley's Imaginary Boyfriend
Riley’s Imaginary Boyfriend Costume Idea

 Riley’s boyfriend modified teenager by mairin. Openclipart public domain license.


The clothes needed for this costume are ones that could be easily found at home. All you need is a basic white tee-shirt, a black long sleeved shirt, a pair of denim skinny jeans (or just jeans if you don’t like skinny ones), and black high top shoes (which have been identified by some as Converse brand).

To get your IBF outfit to look like this Disney Pixar cartoon character: wear the white tee-shirt loose, outside the pants, roll the shirt sleeve cuffs of the black shirt up and wear it unbuttoned, wear dark or denim skinny jeans.

I Would Die for Riley Sign

The iconic quote in the movie is the “Die for Riley.”  This becomes a key to helping Joy and Sadness get back to headquarters and is also a major part of the costume.

I would die for Riley. I would die for Riley. Riley’s Imagination Land Boyfriend

Die for Riley Quote
Die for Riley Quote

If you have all of the supplies you can easily make an “I would die for Riley” sign in less than half an hour to finish off the costume.

  • Make a sign with one of the designs on this page, or use our designs for inspiration to create your own version.
  • Print out the quote onto white paper.
  • Glue or attach the “I would die for Riley” quote with sticky dots to a piece of cardboard poster board or a foam board.
  • Attach the board to a piece of wooden doweling or a wooden stake.
  • Practice posing.

      (If you get the wooden garden stakes you can use the rest for gardening.)

Hair Wig

To help you recreate Rileys ideal boy crush or the imaginary Harry Styles dude you need the shaggy, pop star hair from five years ago. (Think early One Direction and early Justin Bieber)

If your hair doesn’t naturally look like younger Harry Styles, there are several wigs that can help to recreate the wind-swept, curly, tousled, pop star, boy-band look. 



The generated ideal boy friend appears to spend a lot of time of the little time he is on screen on his cellphone taking what else, but selfies. I think that the  selfie-stick might have been included it the movie had been made a bit later.

Attitude & Pose

It is critical to the costume to practice your posing and getting the iconic line, “I would die for Riley” down, along with the dramatic hand, arm and body gestures. Watch this .gif (below) and the video clip (above) to get an idea how to strike the pose.

harry styles inside out imaginary boyfriend generator gif die for Riley Inspiration One Directions Harry Styles

Riley's Imaginary Boyfriend
Selfie-taking IBF

The daughter of Inside Out’s director, Pete Docter’s, is a big fan of Harry Styles and One Direction, so the animators didn’t have to look to far to get their image of what a young girl might imagine for her first crush.

Inside Out Producer, Jonas Rivera, had this to say about Harry Styles, that he is “the greatest hits of what an imaginary boyfriend would look like. We asked a lot of people!”

If there is any doubt that the character is based on Harry, all you need to do is compare the Disney Pixar character images on this page with the photos and dolls of Harry Styles. It’s a pretty clear cut case. 

The doll and the pillowcase photo look nearly identical to Riley’s IBF, minus the necklace. Riley’s ideal boy friend might be better known as Harry Styles Dude.

Variations on Riley’s Imaginary Boyfriend Costume

For Couples

One easy variation on the costume is to have one person dress like the boyfriend and the other dress up as Joy. The two can hang together as a unique couples costume and plan how they are going to get back to Headquarters. Maybe you’ll even come up with some ideas for saving all of the replicated BF’s.

For Groups

A fun group idea would be have a huge group go as the replicated Riley’s Imaginary Boy friends. There are a lot of them. Your costume would be similar to how Joy generated a whole, helpful, gymnastic army of them to save Riley in the movie.

Riley’s First Boyfriend

One of the theories, from the Pixar Wikia, about what happens to all of the IBF’s is that after they fall help Joy bounce back to Headquarters, many of then fall into the Memory Dump where they fade, fizzle, and then are forgotten.

Being forgotten might explain why we see the hockey playing guy back in the Pixar short for Riley’s First Date instead of the imaginary Harry Styles dude.

Inside Out DVD
Inside Out DVD

The Inside Out Pixar exclusive short, “Riley’s First Date?” is available on the DVD release of Inside Out.  In this short Riley is still twelve.

What we know about date is that the date appears to be with the guy who panicked when he ran into Riley at the hockey rink, that both Mom and Dad aren’t too happy about it and Dad’s emotions sound a “Red Alert” about a boy.

It will be interesting to see how the Disney Pixar animators deal with teens, which hopefully will be the topic of the next film, Inside Out 2.

More Inside Out Costumes

We’re working on more DIY costume ideas from Disney Pixar’s Inside Out. Be watching the site for more costumes about Riley and her emotions—Joy, Sadness, Disgust, Fear and Anger.

Our Pinterest Board with DIY Ideas for Riley’s Boyfriend Costume

The Pinterest Board has a collection of the various cosplay costumes that I have been able to find on different social medias to give people more ideas for making, modifying or mashing up Riley’s imaginary Canadian boyfriend.  

Follow The Costume Detective’s board DIY Riley’s Imaginary Boyfriend Costume Ideas Inside Out Movie on Pinterest.

Images from Disney Pixar’s Inside Out.