Priority has been giving to smart garment materials in modern textile clothing industries. The definition of smart garment material can be described as the material which has the sensory capacity to the stimulation of the surroundings or the environmental elements and can make responses accordingly and meanwhile, maintain the typical features and garment functions. Sensory capacity, feedback and response are the three main elements of the smart garment material. Five relative mature and widely used smart materials, including shape memory materials, waterproof and moisture permeable materials, temperature adaptable materials, photo chromic and thermo chromic materials, and electronic materials, were thoroughly reviewed in terms of concept, theory and up-to-date applications. The aim was to give an overview to national garment designers and manufacturers in China and to explore the potential of developing smart garments for the national market.