A finite element method is presented in which the constraint between stiffener and member is imposed by means of Lagrange multipliers. This is performed on the functional level, forming augmented variational principles. In order to simplify the initial development and implementation of the proposed method, two-dimensional stiffened beam finite elements are developed. Several such elements are formulated, each showing monotonic convergence in numerical tests. In the development of stiffened plate finite elements, the bending and membrane behaviors are treated seperately. For each, the stiffness matrix of a standard plate element is modified to account for an added beam element (representing the stiffener) and additional terms imposing the constraint between the two. The resulting stiffened plate element was implemented in the SAPIV finite element code. Exact solutions are not known for rib-reinforced plated structures, but results of numerical tests converge monotonically to a value in the vicinity of an approximate "smeared" series solution.