The present work considers lamellar (micro) structures of thin, elastic lamellae embedded in a yielding matrix as a stability problem in the context of the theory of stability and uniqueness of path-dependent systems. The volume ratio of the stiff lamellae to the relatively soft matrix is assumed low enough to initiate a symmetric buckling mode, which is investigated by analytical and numerical means. Using a highly abstracted, incompatible model, a first approach is made, and the principal features of the problem are highlighted. Assuming plane strain deformation, an analytic expression for the bifurcation load of a refined, compatible model is derived for the special case of ideal plasticity and verified by numerical results. The effect of lamella spacing and matrix hardening on the bifurcation load is studied by a finite element unit cell model. Some of the findings for the ideal plastic matrix are shown to also apply for a mildly hardening matrix material. Furthermore, the postbuckling behaviour and the limit load are investigated by simulating a bulk lamella array.