Big hair, bright colors, spandex, Reaganomics, heavy metal, preppies, and VHS porn. The 1980s were the best of times and the worst of times. Mainstream pop culture was—with plenty of exceptions, sure—a musical wasteland, a fashion disaster, and generally a strange place we wouldn't necessarily want to return to.

And yet, the women. We can laugh at their attire and plumage today, but there is no denying that the best of them measure up perfectly well against the icons of any decade. The '80s saw the rise of the swimsuit model, and with the onset of MTV, a sexy girl could score a hit or even maintain a career off her looks alone. Teen movies flourished thanks to John Hughes and his Brat Pack. Cable TV came to American households in a big way, with lots of hotties in starring roles. Even the women involved in scandals that brought down a televangelist, a presidential hopeful, and a loyal soldier were eye candy.

Whether it's Phoebe Cates in the scene that defined a generation or Janet Jackson stepping out from her brother's shadow, ladies who made a name for themselves during those 10 years were something special. Here are The 80 Hottest Women of the '80s.

Written by Josh Robertson

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