This article deals with the concept of ‘mainstream youth’ in the context of late modernity. The sociology of youth has traditionally operated from two distinct perspectives concerned with either ‚youth transitions‘ or ‚youth (sub)cultures’. This polarisation has led to the neglect of the experience of mainstream youth, who cannot be easily pigeon-holed into the above categories. Drawing on a series of focus groups and small-group semi-structured interviews with 61 young people, the authors analysed young people’s experience of consumption in the Czech Republic. Using the experience of young consumers, the research attempted to understand what it means to belong to the mainstream. The results indicate that belonging to the mainstream does not imply straightforward compliance with dominant power structures, but rather reflects a degree of reflexivity in which young people challenge stereotypes of passive conformism in complex and often paradoxical ways that are not yet well accounted for in the literature. The article suggests that the notion of ‘mainstream youth’ offers some potential as a conceptual way of understanding young people‘s relationship to social change in what appears to be an increasingly individualised society. At the same time, this notion provides an alternative approach that challenges many of the assumptions underpinning the sociology of youth’s conception of consumption.