Stiffened panels made out of isotropic or anisotropic materials are being extensively used as structural elements for aircraft, maritime, and other structures. In order to maintain stiffness and strength with light weight, new design techniques must be employed when utilising these materials. Their stability, ultimate strength and loading capacity are the key issues pertaining to these engineering structures which have attracted a number of investigators to undertake in-depth research, either in an academic or actual engineering context. This paper presents a review of the optimisation techniques applied to buckling and post-buckling of stiffened panels. Papers published in the period from 2000 to May 2015 have been taken into consideration. The topic is addressed by identifying the most significant objectives, targets and issues, as well as the optimisation formulations, optimisation algorithms and models available. Finally a critical discussion, giving some practical advice and pointing out the most common issues involved in optimisation of buckling and post-buckling of stiffened panels, is provided.