The investigation aims at: (i) constructing a modified higher-order shear deformation theory in which Kirchhoff's hypotheses are relaxed, to allow for shear deformations; (ii) validating the present 5-parameter-smeared-laminate theory by comparing the results with exact solutions; and (iii) applying the theory to a specific problem of the postbuckling behavior of a flat stiffened fiber-reinforced laminated composite plate under compression. The first part of this paper is devoted mainly to the derivation of the pertinent displacement field which obviates the need for shear correction factors. The present displacement field compares satisfactorily with the exact solutions for three layered cross-ply laminates. The distinctive feature of the present smeared laminate theory is that the through-the-thickness transverse shear stresses are calculated directly from the constitutive equations without involving any integration of the equilibrium equations. The second part of this paper demonstrates the applicability of the present modified higher-order shear deformation theory to the post-buckling analysis of stiffened laminated panels under compression. to accomplish this, the finite strip method is employed. A C2-continuity requirement in the displacement field necessitates a modification of the conventional finite strip element technique by introducing higher-order polynomials in the direction normal to that of the stiffener axes. The finite strip formulation is validated by comparing the numerical solutions for buckling problems of the stiffened panels with some typical experimental results.