Been getting compliments on your new shirt? Did you once buy an item of clothing because it looked like something Kate Moss might wear? Are you friends with Nick Grimshaw?

Well, none of that matters. Because these days, you're not truly "fashion" until you've been street-snapped – papped by a fashion blogger while you're on the hoof. Forget stealing your soul, this means millions want to steal your entire outfit.

Many people cite Bill Cunningham as the father of street-style photography. Since 1978, Bill, his bike and a battered Nikon have searched Manhattan for the fabulously dressed for his New York Times column. It's considered such an honour to appear in "On the Street" that even frosty fashion editor Anna Wintour said, "We all get dressed for Bill." Except most of us probably don't. But that's not the attitude if you want to make it into the street-style hall of fame.

The movement also owes something to i-D magazine and the pictures it published of punks leaning moodily against scuffed walls. Suddenly glossy, perfectly retouched, big-budget magazine shoots were so last season and it was all about "keeping it real".

From The Sartorialist to (the slightly serial-killer-sounding) FaceHunter, street-style bloggers now travel the world searching for the best-dressed beautiful people. They've spawned books, ad campaigns and magazine features.

So what should one do to become street-style bait? Obviously it's not enough to be really cool (or why haven't we made it on to a blog yet?). To truly capture the essence of all things "street" you'll need an urban setting – there should be a fixed-gear bike or a Banksy behind you – and you'll be in a state of what fashion people call "deshabille" – roughly translated as "a hot mess".

Girls must spend three hours making their hair look as if they've had a fight with a wind machine, guys will need an oh-so-ironic moustache. And most importantly of all, you'll have an air of insouciant sulkiness, because one should never look remotely happy about getting street-snapped. That just wouldn't be hip. Kate Wills

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