A simple disposable absorbent article including an absorbent assembly attached to a chassis. The absorbent assembly includes an absorbent core that may contain superabsorbent particles, which may be contained inside pockets. The absorbent assembly is folded laterally inward at both of its side edges to form laterally opposing side flaps. Each side flap is attached to an interior surface of the absorbent assembly adjacent to its end edges. A longitudinally extending elastic gathering member is attached to each side flap adjacent to its proximal edge. When the article is worn, the elastic gathering members contract and raise the side flaps to form breathable side barriers. The chassis includes a water-impermeable sheet and may be extensible. The absorbent assembly may be attached in a cruciform pattern such that portions of the chassis that lie outside the attachment pattern are not restrained by attachment to the absorbent assembly and therefore remain extensible.