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Karim Sanders, Parking Attendant, Construction Worker, and Tour Coordinator, With His Son Amir

"I'm upscale. I've got champagne tastes but bare money."


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How would you describe your style?
I’m upscale. I’ve got champagne tastes but bare money. I dress sporty, I dress casual, and I also get well-dressed. It depends on the occasion.

What occasions do you dress for?
I’m a parking attendant for NBC. I also book flights and hotel reservations for music artists when they tour. And sometimes I work construction, so I’ll be wearing jeans, Tims, and a down jacket. Then I got problems. I might get pulled over by the cops. But when I put on my merino-wool sweater, a nice cashmere cap, and my reading glasses, I don’t get a problem. I’ve called the civilian complaint board a few times.

Where do you shop?
Bergdorf Goodman, Barneys New York. I shop at Gucci sometimes, but just for the shoes. They cut for little people, they discriminate against me. I ought to complain about that!

Where did you get this outfit?
My friend brought the coat back from London. The hat is from Barneys. I got the pants on Third Avenue near Lenox Hill Hospital. The shoes I got on Fordham Road, up in the Bronx where I live.

Have you always been into clothes?
I get that from my father. He was a very, very fancy dresser—he always wore alligator shoes from a famous store called Leightons that closed twenty years ago. When I was 5 years old, I used to get my clothes tailored periodically. I thought that was pretty cool.

Whose style do you like?
Jay-Z. He’s a nice kid, a good brother. Foxy Brown, Lil’ Kim—they got style. Puff Daddy’s sort of cool. We don’t have a relationship, but we acknowledge each other. Black Rob is a friend of mine, and he’s signed on Bad Boy. I’ve watched their success; that’s why I want to write a book.

What’s it called?
The Habitual Switch. It’s about how guys convert from the criminal lifestyle to the rap game. I’ve been contemplating writing it for about nine years, but I just started.

Do you enjoy dressing your son?
Oh yeah. His blue coat is from Catimini, the shoes are from Tip-Top Kids on 72nd. I just tell him, you need to be neat, clean, and looking appropriate.

Is he your only child?
I’ve got four—two boys, two girls. Amir is 3. He’s the youngest. He’s a sweet, charming kid. It’s hard to tell a kid like that no.


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